Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
World's Second-Most-Popular Sport Could Have New Home in West Fresno
gvw_nancy_price
By Nancy Price, Multimedia Journalist
Published 3 years ago on
October 29, 2021

Share

Cricket is the world’s second-most-popular sport, trailing only soccer, with 2.5 billion fans. But if you try to have a conversation about the sport with most people in Fresno you might wind up figuratively hearing crickets (awkward silence).

Baldev Birk and fellow members of the Fresno Cricket Club want to change that. They are lobbying Central Unified School District to build a cricket pitch at Madison Elementary School.

A cricket ball. (Shutterstock)

Why Madison? The South Brawley Avenue school has the space needed for cricket matches, about the size of two soccer fields, Birk said. Plus, the school grounds aren’t getting as much use by youth sports as other schools. The cricketers wanted a less-used space so as not to interfere with kids playing their own games, he said.

The cost of the pitch, a concrete pad covered by artificial turf about 30 yards long and 4 yards wide, is $10,000 and would be funded through the district’s maintenance operations budget, district spokesman Gilbert Magallon told GV Wire.

The proposal was discussed during this week’s board meeting as an information item and will return for a vote at the next board meeting on Nov. 9.

Explaining Cricket

Cricket is a cousin to America’s baseball, with some similarities: A ball is pitched and a batter hits the ball, trying to get runs.

That’s pretty much where the similarities end. Unlike baseball, which has foul lines, fences, and a playing field that fits within a right angle of 90 degrees, cricket is 360 degrees. Players take turns bowling (not pitching) and hitting the ball, and the “strike zone” is a set of wooden sticks called a wicket.

There are two wickets and a batsman at each, although the bowler only throws toward one wicket at a time. The batsman not only tries to keep the bowler from hitting the wicket but also is trying to hit the ball long distances so the two batsmen can run between wickets before the ball is retrieved and thrown in.

All that throwing and hitting is on the pitch, but the defensive players are spread out on an extended oval that surrounds the pitch in all directions.

Confused? (Yeah, me too.) Check out this YouTube video.

Fresno Cricket Club, which was launched in 2010, is made up of amateur players on eight teams. Four are traveling teams that play in cricket matches in the Bay Area and Los Angeles, where cricket pitches are more abundant, Birk said.

Right now, the local cricketers play at Sierra Bicentennial Park in Clovis, on vacant baseball diamonds or soccer fields — wherever they can get sufficient space — so the addition of the Madison pitch will be welcome, Birk said.

He and others are hoping that high schools in Central and other districts will consider adding cricket as a club sport so that young players can have more experience. One Central East student, Harshdeep Singh, was a track standout and tried out for an under-19 cricket team but didn’t make it, Birk said. “There’s no opportunity for athletes like him to play the sport,” he said.

Pitching for a Pitch

Birk said he’s been working on the Central Unified proposal for the past 2 1/2 years, but things went slowly because of the COVID-19 pandemic. He’s been advocating even longer with the city of Fresno parks department to create a cricket pitch, but so far without success.

“Especially with Measure P (the sales tax for parks), they’ve got loads of money to make improvements,” he said.

Fresno Cricket Club members at a tournament. (Fresno Cricket Club)

RELATED TOPICS:

DON'T MISS

Six-Time DUI Offender Faces Murder Charges for Fatal Fresno Crash

DON'T MISS

CHP Seizes $400K of Cocaine in Fresno County I-5 Traffic Stop

DON'T MISS

Mendota Gets a New Big-Name Resident to Call Prison Home

DON'T MISS

Fresno State Faculty: Stop Diverting Money from Academics to Athletics

DON'T MISS

Fresno Needs More Grocery Stores. Would Change to Local Liquor Law Help It Happen?

DON'T MISS

First Disease Deaths Reported in Flooded Southern Brazil; Surge in Fatalities Expected

DON'T MISS

Cal Chamber Identifies Fewest ‘Job Killer’ Bills Since 2001

DON'T MISS

Fox’s Greg Olsen Wins Top Analyst at Sports Emmy Awards

DON'T MISS

Rookies Clark, Reese & Brink Send WNBA Ratings Soaring

DON'T MISS

Asian American, Pacific Islander Latinos in the US See Exponential Growth, New Analysis Says

UP NEXT

CHP Seizes $400K of Cocaine in Fresno County I-5 Traffic Stop

UP NEXT

Mendota Gets a New Big-Name Resident to Call Prison Home

UP NEXT

Fresno State Faculty: Stop Diverting Money from Academics to Athletics

UP NEXT

Fresno Needs More Grocery Stores. Would Change to Local Liquor Law Help It Happen?

UP NEXT

First Disease Deaths Reported in Flooded Southern Brazil; Surge in Fatalities Expected

UP NEXT

Cal Chamber Identifies Fewest ‘Job Killer’ Bills Since 2001

UP NEXT

Fox’s Greg Olsen Wins Top Analyst at Sports Emmy Awards

UP NEXT

Rookies Clark, Reese & Brink Send WNBA Ratings Soaring

UP NEXT

Asian American, Pacific Islander Latinos in the US See Exponential Growth, New Analysis Says

UP NEXT

Central Unified Gets $8 Million Grant to Bring Community Services to Schools

Nancy Price,
Multimedia Journalist
Nancy Price is a multimedia journalist for GV Wire. A longtime reporter and editor who has worked for newspapers in California, Florida, Alaska, Illinois and Kansas, Nancy joined GV Wire in July 2019. She previously worked as an assistant metro editor for 13 years at The Fresno Bee. Nancy earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in journalism at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. Her hobbies include singing with the Fresno Master Chorale and volunteering with Fresno Filmworks. You can reach Nancy at 559-492-4087 or Send an Email

Fresno State Faculty: Stop Diverting Money from Academics to Athletics

2 hours ago

Fresno Needs More Grocery Stores. Would Change to Local Liquor Law Help It Happen?

2 hours ago

First Disease Deaths Reported in Flooded Southern Brazil; Surge in Fatalities Expected

3 hours ago

Cal Chamber Identifies Fewest ‘Job Killer’ Bills Since 2001

4 hours ago

Fox’s Greg Olsen Wins Top Analyst at Sports Emmy Awards

4 hours ago

Rookies Clark, Reese & Brink Send WNBA Ratings Soaring

5 hours ago

Asian American, Pacific Islander Latinos in the US See Exponential Growth, New Analysis Says

6 hours ago

Central Unified Gets $8 Million Grant to Bring Community Services to Schools

6 hours ago

RNC HQ Evacuated: Blood Vials Addressed to Trump Prompt Security Alert

6 hours ago

U.S. Existing Home Sales Drop 1.9% in April, Pushed Lower by High Rates and High Prices

6 hours ago

Six-Time DUI Offender Faces Murder Charges for Fatal Fresno Crash

The Fresno County District Attorney’s Office has charged David Alvarado, 54, of Madera, with multiple counts, including murder, following a ...

1 hour ago

1 hour ago

Six-Time DUI Offender Faces Murder Charges for Fatal Fresno Crash

1 hour ago

CHP Seizes $400K of Cocaine in Fresno County I-5 Traffic Stop

2 hours ago

Mendota Gets a New Big-Name Resident to Call Prison Home

2 hours ago

Fresno State Faculty: Stop Diverting Money from Academics to Athletics

2 hours ago

Fresno Needs More Grocery Stores. Would Change to Local Liquor Law Help It Happen?

3 hours ago

First Disease Deaths Reported in Flooded Southern Brazil; Surge in Fatalities Expected

4 hours ago

Cal Chamber Identifies Fewest ‘Job Killer’ Bills Since 2001

4 hours ago

Fox’s Greg Olsen Wins Top Analyst at Sports Emmy Awards

MENU

CONNECT WITH US

Search

Send this to a friend