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Long Island park set to host Cricket World Cup match in June

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EAST MEADOW, N.Y. — Once played only in colonies of Great Britain, where the sport was first recognized, the popularity of cricket is exploding worldwide, and for the first time ever, the Cricket World Cup will be contested on United States soil.

One of three venues in America will be in our own backyard — Long Island’s Eisenhower Park — but locals are having a tough time getting tickets.

The Cricket World Cup trophy was escorted through Eisenhower Park on Tuesday, hoisted by star players past and present.

“It’s heavy emotion, and I’m so excited because it’s a childhood dream,” said cricket fan Joshua John, of Albertson.

John brought his infant daughter, Olivia, to share with her his passion for cricket.

“This is the first time here in the United States that we’ll have the World Cup, and I am very, very honored and pleased that Nassau County was chosen as one the sites here in America,” Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman said.

They will host India-Pakistan, one of the biggest rivalries in sport. It’s one of eight matches to played this summer in a temporary stadium seating 34,000.

“Hopefully I will be here live to witness history as well here in the United States,” said Chris Gayle, a retired West Indies cricket batsman.

“It’s like a dream come true for every cricketer, and every cricketer wants to play in the World Cup before they retire,” Team USA cricket pitcher Ali Khan said.

And every cricket fan wants to see one up close and personal, but…

“I asked a lot of people. I don’t know one person who got the ticket,” Westbury resident Shaikh Shakil said.

Shakil and his neighbors are frustrated; matches sold out and tickets are being resold for thousands.

“Those tickets are sold for five, ten times more than the price,” he said.

The International Cricket Council says its lottery was fair; it had millions of requests.

The county is planning watch parties.

When the tournament closes and the stands are taken down, the ICC will leave Nassau County with a world-class cricket field and practice facilities.

“Leaving that as a legacy for the community and for cricket in the USA is going to be one of the advantages,” ICC CEO Geoff Allardice said.

Cricket wicket thrills are on their way.

It’s estimated 1.2 billion people around the world will tune in to the India-Pakistan match on June 9.

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