- Associated Press - Friday, May 30, 2014

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - The city of Indianapolis withdrew Friday as host of a national cricket championship slated for this summer, saying deteriorating communications with the USA Cricket Association had imperiled the city’s plans for the event.

Mayor Greg Ballard said in a statement that the city was terminating its agreement to host the US National Cricket Championships in August at Indianapolis‘ new $5.1 million World Sports Park. The mayor cited worsening communications with the Florida-based USA Cricket Association, whose CEO abruptly resigned in March, for the city’s decision.

Indianapolis signed a three-year deal last year to host a U.S. amateur cricket tournament and championship, starting in August 2014. That tournament was to have been the first such event in the U.S. since 2011. Ballard spokesman Marc Lotter said the city is withdrawing from the full three-year deal.

“The decision was made to cancel the tournament because factors outside of the city’s control were putting our ability to host a successful tournament at risk,” Ballard said in his statement.

The mayor said Indianapolis‘ decision not to host the event for the ball-and-bat sport that’s mostly popular overseas won’t impact its completion of the World Sports Park, a 40-acre development on Indianapolis‘ east side that was to host the championship.

That park, slated for completion in August, will feature multiple athletic fields for cricket, soccer, rugby, hurling and lacrosse.

Lotter said the city’s communications with the Lake Worth, Florida-based cricket association broke down following the resignation of Darren Beazley.

“We had a very good working relationship - open communications - with the organizing group during Mr. Beazley’s tenure. Unfortunately that changed and the fact that the tournament was rapidly approaching really just forced the city to cancel the tournament in order to retain its reputation as a world leader in sporting events.”

Messages seeking comment left Friday with the USA Cricket Association were not immediately returned.

City Parks & Recreation Director John W. Williams said in a letter to the group that its weekly teleconferences with the city had ended following Beazley’s departure. He said those calls were a “critical component” of planning for the event.

Indianapolis officials had also been seeking information about the tournaments that lead to the championship, marketing efforts for them and updates on recruitment of sponsors and partners.

Lotter said canceling the cricket championship is for “the long-term good of the sport” of cricket, a game the British brought to the American colonies in the early 1700s and from which baseball eventually arose. He said Indianapolis still wants to help popularize cricket in the U.S.

“You don’t want to host a bad event when you’re trying to grow a sport,” he said.

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