Interest in cricket is booming in North Texas

North Texas has three major recreational cricket leagues and more than 300 teams in total. Games are played day and night, almost every day of the week.

FRISCO, Texas – An open meadow is a rare find on most north Texas weekends. The fields are dominated by sports most of us are familiar with: soccer, soccer, and baseball.

But over the past decade, the emerging sport of cricket has gained a foothold in the region.

“We live, breathe, eat, drink and sleep cricket,” laughed Rajesh Cherukupalli. Rajesh emigrated to the United States in 1991 and was always looking for places to practice his childhood sports.

The international game of the 16th century is now in full swing in North Texas. The parks have a number of cricket fields where spectators and competitors come together.

The Frisco Cricket League (FCL), for example, is the first night cricket in the region. Three years ago it consisted of 12 teams and now it has tripled to 36.

“North Texas cricket has become a celebration. There is a queue of 20 teams waiting to join this league,” said Rajan Dwivedi, organizer of the FCL, which plays Friday through Sunday evenings.

In North Texas alone there are three major leisure leagues and a total of more than 300 teams. Each team can keep a list of up to 25 players.

“These teams play cricket four times a week,” said Sibu Mathew of Lords Indoor Sports in Plano.

The rare indoor cricket league, which plays with different rules and shorter playing fields and also starts, is located in Sibu’s indoor facility.

“Where football was 15 years ago is cricket now,” said Sibu.

While some compare the game to baseball, many the WFAA spoke to grinned and quickly said, “It’s not like that.”

Dwivedi tells the WFAA that he created a special cricket ball that was softer for recreational use but still feels the same as a real cricket ball.

“”[The ball] is about 135 grams. This is specially made for night cricket so that people can see it well, “says Balaji Muthukumar-Veeramani, describing the specially designed yellow cricket ball.

It may not be like baseball, but it is a bat and ball sport. In slow motion, you can enjoy the beautiful dance of the bowler and the stubborn pursuit of the batsman.

For Rajesh Cherukupalli, who fondly remembers his game days in India, cricket is a family activity. His son Mihir, a wicket keeper and batsman, has just joined the USA Cricket U19 training group.

“I think he’s crazier than me. But I hope I’m pretty close because I love the game,” Mihir said of his father and her love of cricket.

Few expected the sport to explode like it did in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. But Texas has the second largest population of South Asians in the US

“There are high-tech jobs. A lot of people come from India and even from other countries. Cricket is their children’s sport. It wakes them up,” said Rajan.

It’s a game of angles, precision, turns and strategy. The US is still catching up on a sport that has been around for centuries, but North Texas could be the shining example.

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