Flushing Assemblywoman Nily Rozic and fellow elected officials are teaming up with local cricket leagues and community associations to create the first-ever Empire State Cricket Task Force in New York.
Rozic and state Senator Kevin Thomas of Nassau County were joined by the American Pakistani Public Affairs Committee (APPAC) on Monday by Kissena Corridor West Park to announce the passage of legislation (A6306/S3807), which would create a Cricket Task Force to conduct a comprehensive study and come up with ways to promote cricket across New York.
The bill now waits approval from Governor Andrew Cuomo.
“Cricket is already a bona fide American pastime that brings everyone together and should be celebrated for that. As the second most popular sport in the world, cricket brings with it a massive audience and economic development opportunities,” Rozic said. “With the growth of numerous leagues across New York, the creation of a Cricket Task Force would benefit the sport and recognize its place in New York.”
The game of cricket, created in England in the 16th century, is the second most popular sport in the world. New York hosted the first international cricket match in 1844.
Thomas, the first Indian-American senator, said he recognizes the importance of the sport in the South Asian community.
“After soccer, cricket is the most-watched and most played sport in the world. Here in New York, we welcome and support the game — and the South Asian community — with great enthusiasm. The creation of the Empire State Cricket Task Force will help promote this exciting sport and identify economic development opportunities to help it grow and thrive throughout the state.”
There are 60 cricket pitches in the five boroughs with seven parks in Queens that allow New Yorkers to reserve sites for games throughout the year.
“You will often find parks throughout Queens filled with people playing each weekend which reflects the diversity of our county,” said Senator Toby Stavisky. “This task force will be an important first step in recognizing the benefits that cricket can bring to our state while encouraging communities to be more active in the sport.
Members of the APPAC warmly welcomed the Rozic and Thomas’ initiative to create the first-ever cricket task force on the state level.
“We at APPAC are thrilled because it has been proven that societies which encourage sports have lower crime rates, lead to empowerment of young adults, leads to a decrease in poverty, and brings families and communities together,” said Dr. Ijaz Ahmed, chairman of the APPAC.
Ather Tirmizi, executive director of APPAC added, “We believe the diversity of New York is its strengths, and promoting cricket on the state level is proof of that commitment by Assemblywoman Nily Rozic and Senator Kevin Thomas.”