India could be next frontier for baseball and softball development

India could be next frontier for baseball and softball development
10/08/2020
Major League Baseball opened an office in New Delhi, and according to a spokesman of the National Federation, a million boys and girls play softball in the subcontinent.

Hooking India, and its 1.4 billion population, to baseball would "definitely boost the sport worldwide." This is the opinion of Major League Baseball (MLB), which decided to open an office in New Delhi.

The decision came after a decade of studies and because throwing, hitting and catching are common traits in cricket, the most popular sport in the subcontinent, which should help new players and fans to transition to and become familiar with baseball.

"We are not trying to bring baseball as an alternative to, or as a replacement of, cricket by any means," said Ryo Takahashi, who heads MLB's operations in India, in an interview. "Within that, if there's some sort of familiarity, it's easier for people to relate."

The Amateur Baseball Federation of India was founded in 1983.

India found attention in the world of men's softball back in 2018, when pitcher Gurav Chaudari delivered as many as 585 pitches, starting every single game his country played in the WBSC Junior World Championship,

India finished in ninth place the Men's Softball Junior World Championship 2018. Narendra Patal, the Head of India's Delegation in the tournament said that overall a million boys and girls play softball in India.

The Softball Association of India is the governing body of the game in the subcontinent.

The Junior World Championship was rebranded as WBSC U-18 Men's Softball World Cup. India failed to qualify for the 2020 edition in Palmerston North, New Zealand.