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Cricket attracts players from around the globe

By Alan Krawitz

In recent years, the popularity of the game of cricket has surged across the city, but it remains a fan favorite in Queens among the borough’s diverse immigrant population.

The English pastime, one of the most popular games in the world, has many essential elements of American baseball along with some interesting wrinkles.

For example, pitchers are known as bowlers, hitters are batsmen and innings are called overs.

Other key differences from baseball include use of a flat-looking bat, no foul balls and 11 fielders instead of baseball’s nine.

While cricket experts estimate there are more than 1,000 teams citywide, Queens seems to be the epicenter for the sport with seven city-run fields — more than any other borough. In addition, a new indoor cricket facility opened in Jamaica back in 2011.

Last June, Queens resident and U.S. National Cricket Team Captain Steve Massiah told a newspaper reporter that the borough has the demographics and cultural diversity to keep the sport growing.

But, more recently, Queens Councilman Ruben Wills (D-Jamaica) has made the promotion of cricket one of his top priorities.

The councilman’s immediate plans include the creation of a task force to foster the sport and ultimately to build the borough’s first cricket stadium.

Earlier this month, Wills introduced legislation that would create a 10-member task force to study the health, social and economic impacts of the sport in New York City.

The councilman said that cricket is extremely popular in the borough and that he believes it could give the entire city an economic jolt.

In fact, the game is so popular in the city that even the NYPD started its own cricket league back in 2008 to build better relations with the city’s Indo-Caribbean and SE Asian population.

Just a quick visit to the Join a Cricket Club in New York City’s Facebook page will tell you how popular the game is in the city.

Only a few days ago, prospective cricket player Shashidar Reddy posted this message:

“Hi, this is Shashidhar Reddy, I’m 22 years old and would like to play cricket for some team in New York. I have moved to New York from India for pursuing my master’s in SUNY at New Paltz. I play good cricket. In particular, I’m right-hand opener batsman and right-hand medium pacer. Previously I have played for college and played some league matches. Please let me know how to join the team. Thank You.”

And, Teddy Grabowski, hailing from Australia, was eager to find a cricket club in New York or on Long Island.

Grabowski wrote, “Hi … Looking to play, meet people and hopefully spread the game. I’m a left arm ortho and left hand batsman. I taught Kanga cricket and milo cricket to kids in Australia and would love to find similar work if available. Thank you kindly.”

Other resources for would-be cricket players include www.newyorkcricket.com, www.nycgovparks.org, www.libertycricket.com and www.sunrisecricket.com.

For a complete selection of cricket supplies, visit Singh’s Sporting Goods in Ozone Park.

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