Cricket Gains New Grounds in NYC

A cricket game at Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens. (Photo by Chris Goldberg, Creative Commons license)

Cricket games, like this one at Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens, are becoming more common in city parks. (Photo by Chris Goldberg, Creative Commons license)

On the playing fields of New York, where games of football, baseball and soccer are familiar sights, another sport is breaking out. Thanks to a growing number of immigrants from the West Indies, South Asia and other regions, there are now seven cricket leagues in the New York Metro Area alone, according to the United States of America Cricket Association.

Queens Courier looks at the growth of cricket, a sport whose popularity is only a recent phenomenon.

Eric Ferrier, who founded the New York Softball Cricket League, said it was hard to round up members across the state when he was starting the organization.

But Ferrier, who is of Guyanese descent, boasts that today the league has nearly 2,500 players in Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx and Long Island.

He credits a lot of the success to word-of-mouth promotion from the league’s current players.

Credit can also be given to the annual cricket tournament held by the NYPD.

The tournament, which has been going on for about six years, is hosted in either Queens or the Bronx every year for players ranging from 14-19 years old. This year’s tournament was played in Flushing. Its aim is to develop a relationship with the city’s immigrant community.

The tournament’s founder, Sergeant Adeel Rana, said that a top priority is creating more fields for cricket players: “Every park has a baseball field, but not a lot have cricket fields.”

Cricket may be rising in popularity but avid player Anwer Hossain, who moved to New York from Pakistan when he was a young child, takes on a more realistic outlook.

While he is optimistic for the sport’s future, Hossain noted that cricket still has a way to go before it can become a mainstream American sport.

“I love the sport. I would do anything for it,” Hossain said. But he added, “It’s going to be really difficult to reach that point.”

One elected official hopes to push cricket into the mainstream through legislation. While it has yet to be voted on, Councilman Ruben Wills (D-Rochdale, South Ozone Park) has introduced a bill that would create a cricket task force to promote the sport.

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