Cricket has come to Sioux Lookout

Bowlers, batsmen, and wickets have come to Sioux Lookout.

The municipality is bringing the sport of cricket to the community by offering a place for people to play world’s second most popular sport after soccer.

Anyone interested can now try the sport during a drop-in session at the Rec Centre on Sunday afternoons until April.

Rony Chakraborty, the recreation and culture manager for Sioux Lookout, said one great quality the community has is embracing and taking part in something new.

“Although cricket is not that popular in North America, staff thought it would be an idea to start this at a smaller scale indoor,” he said. “After the participants get a taste of how fun this sport is, we plan to take it outdoors in summer.”

Chakraborty said they started playing in the middle of January and 16 players showed up.

“There were participants who have immigrated from Southeast Asian countries, Caribbean islands, U.K. and Australia who have played the game before but it was wonderful on the first week to see participation from locals who tried the game for the first time,” he said.

“We have a participant who works shift work and when he would come home from work the only sport which would be live on TV would be cricket. That’s how he started growing interest for the sport, but he was excited to be participating in person.”

He pointed out they are running the activity as co-ed to promote gender equality.

“With word of mouth and posters being published on Facebook and municipal website we are expecting more participation,” he said.

Chakraborty is a lifelong fan of the sport.

“Growing up [in the Indian Sub-continent], the [sports found] at any school or local neighbourhoods playgrounds were cricket and football (soccer in North America),” he said.

“If I remember correctly my eldest uncle gave me kid’s cricket set with a yellow bat, white plastic wickets and a ball on my fifth birthday. That’s when I actually started hitting some balls around and my grandfather used to make sure he threw some easy balls at me so that I could hit them easily and I still remember raising my bat in the air as if I won the game.”

For those who are unfamiliar, Chakraborty explained the easiest way to explain the scoring system is there are mainly two teams with ideally 11 players on each team and they take turns to bat and bowl. There are two sets of wickets [three vertical sticks with two smaller sticks balanced between them on top]. The bowler bowls an over which comprises of six deliveries from one end towards the batter standing on the opposite end. He added there are three ways to score runs: running between the wickets after hitting the ball, hitting the ball past a boundary, and through extras, which can be attained even though the ball doesn’t hit the bat.

“People who have interest in sports should try this sport at least once,” Chakraborty said. “It’s fun and engaging.”

Eric Shih, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Thunder Bay Source