My Tryst with Cricket in USA
Cricket is an alien sports in America. They do not care about it. Desis from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and additionally Sri Lankans and West Indians have however brought cricket to USA. It is said that cricket is being played in USA since many decades, but has hardly gained popularity with locals! Baseball – a sports akin to Cricket (many believe Americans modified Cricket to invent Baseball!) – has also to get some blame for that! Moreover, the distribution of cricket is pretty focal: it is played in cities where the desis have a major concentration. You can count on New York, New Jersey, Chicago, Houston and I believe in California too. I know that in NJ, indoor cricket is available.
However, I had my first rub with Cricket in USA last spring (2008) when I got a chance to play for Springfield Cricket Club (SCC). I was pleasantly surprised when I came to know that Springfield in Illinois have a cricket club and actually have a well-groomed ground with a good pitch. When I joined it they were half through the season. I got to play a few matches for SCC in the tournament being organized by Midwest Cricket Conference . That was a fun! Our team went as far as to Moline ( a 3 hours drive from Springfield) to play matches. Playing on the mat after many years meant I had to flex my muscles and joints properly! But we had good practice sessions and I did it a lot what I love most: Bowling ! The pace has come down with the years, but it was , nevertheless, fairly OK. It seems that I have lost the outswing which used to be my hall -mark!
I played 3 matches during the season and one was quite memorable for me personally! We played against CCI team (from Bloomington): CCI team needed to score 7 runs in the last over to win and I was the bowler. First ball went for duck, second one for four! On next 2 deliveries, batsman could not score, and then I clean-bowled him out on the 5th ball! With abated breath, as both teams watched, my 6th and last delivery was a straight goodlength ball rising to the chest: the (next) batsman flung his bat in vain! That was a fantastic victory! See the score.
Looking forward to 2009 sesssion of MCC tournament! The matches start in May, and our captain Samir Patel says that we ought to start practice from April! Let us see!