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India vs Pakistan: T20 World Cup game shows cricket has arrived in the United States

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For the first time at this pop-up stadium in Eisenhower Park the plastic wrapping was also taken off the comfy seats in the corporate sections which were barely used for earlier games.

Cricket royalty was bussed in for the day. Sachin Tendulkar was mobbed, Bollywood stars hob-nobbed. Noble-prize winning activist Malala Yousafzai cheered on Pakistan.

Chris Gayle, who wore a dazzling all-white suit with one sleeve orange and green for India and the other green for Pakistan, strolled about the outfield with a huge grin on his face. He was even asking the players to sign it.

It was brash, over-bearing and full of razzamatazz. Even ringmaster Ravi Shastri’s act at the toss was cranked up a few more notches.

There is an appeal for the players of India and Pakistan being here, too. Not just in terms of growing their own brands stateside.

Kohli and his Bollywood superstar wife Anushka Sharma were able to slip out for coffee in New York the past few days – almost unthinkable back home.

Security was extremely tight. Sniffer dogs, bomb disposal experts, military-style armoured vehicles, helicopters circling the ground, surveillance teams and members from every branch of police imaginable. Even covert snipers in place.

“The Super Bowl on steroids” was how Nassau County executive Bruce Blakeman, one of the key men in bringing this even to New York, described the security preparations for the event.

Everything’s bigger in the US, after all.

So where from here? Major League Cricket will fill the breach given the cast of stellar names on their books, with this year’s edition set to start a matter of days after the World Cup ends.

A delegation from the International Olympic Committee have been in town in recent days checking out the pop-up stadium in New York and meeting various stakeholders.

You can bet your bottom dollar India v Pakistan at Los Angeles 2028 is firmly in their sights.

It will be a case of watch this space to see what happens on US soil between now and then.

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