If you are unaware there’s a group playing cricket in Whitehorse, you certainly are not alone.
Every weekend a dozen or more players turn the baseball diamond behind Porter Creek Secondary School into a cricket pitch for drop-in play.
“We just play on the weekends. We get together with our friends while we’re free,” said drop-in regular Muhammad Sheharyar. “We just play cricket and enjoy the summer outside.”
“We have lots of people, maybe 28 or 30 people … Everyone is welcome to play.”
It’s not a club or a league, there’s no Whitehorse cricket association, it’s simply a group of fans that gather to play the English bat-and-ball sport Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings beginning around 6 p.m.
This is actually the start of the second season for the group. Without a governing body, the drop-in has grown through word of mouth.
This past winter the group played regularly indoors at the Canada Games Centre and sometimes the gymnasium at Yukon College.
“Sometimes we don’t have enough people, everyone is busy with their schedule,” said Sheharyar.
It is estimated that cricket is played by 120 million around the world, making it the second most played sport behind soccer.
It is hugely popular in the United Kingdom where it is the national sport of England, as well as south Asia – particularly India and Pakistan – and Africa.
Canada does in fact have a national team, overseen by Cricket Canada, which joined the International Cricket Council (ICC) in 1968.
Team Canada has won the ICC Americas Championship four times, has twice been runner-up at the Intercontinental Cup, and placed fourth in the World Cricket League in 2007.
“It’s an international game and very popular. They have some great games going on in Edmonton, in Toronto – they have lots of leagues going on all over Canada,” said Sheharyar. “Except Whitehorse doesn’t have anything proper for cricket, but we started playing.”
Sheharyar hopes the drop-ins will continue to grow to the point of some day developing into a league. Perhaps some regulars could put together a team and compete at an Outside tournament at some point, he added.
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