A group of about 20 men played cricket in Yellow Creek Park on a sun-filled Saturday morning.
She and some others from India or Pakistan have gathered on most Saturdays this past year to play the game they grew up in their home countries.
Now that community of 120 or more people here in Owensboro is trying to share knowledge of their game with people here and in the Tri-State area.
We love the game of cricket, said Sonu Mehla, one of the team organizers here. We went to Evansville and played, and my brother said we should sort something out here. It’s getting bigger and bigger, we have almost three teams here and more people say they want to come.
The teams are called the Owensboro Kings A and B.
Cricket is similar to baseball, but there are many differences in the two sports. Cricket pitchers are called bowlers and they throw a hard ball to a wicket (three standing wooden posts). A batsman uses a flat wooden bat to try to hit the ball.
There are two batsmen and 11 fielders, including bowlers, on the field during the game. You can score runs in different ways over a series of innings.
There are only two bases and there is no foul area, said Dr. Jinah Sayed, one of the players on Saturday. If the ball hits the bat and it goes anywhere, if it lands outside the boundary, that’s six runs, six at a time. If it bounces and crosses the line, that’s four runs.
Most of the men who stood on the pitch or watched and waited their turn have been playing cricket since they were children in India, where the sport has a strong history.
Cricket was born in India in our blood, said Dr Dattatraya Prajapati, who has lived in Owensboro since 1981 and recently retired as a doctor. I’ve been following cricket since 1960, we played in the streets. This year is the first time we put it together here.
Almost all the guys playing are doctors, owners of restaurants, hotels or other small businesses in the area.
The group, called the Owensboro Cricket Association, will be holding a small tournament at Panther Creek Park on Saturday, September 18. The matches start at 7.30am-8pm and last all day.
One of the reasons for the small tournament at Panther Creek is to give people in the area more opportunity to see the sport in person.
There will be two teams from Evansville and the two from Owensboro competing. The Evansville Cricket Club is the adult team from there and the Indiana Youth Cricket League is for younger players.
We will have the teams, players, our families and everyone can come and watch, Mehla said.
The Owensboro Kings are also working on a permanent play area.
We started this group last year, said Raman Galla. The main reason was that we wanted to bring our cricket culture here, and we wanted to come together.
We were trying to bring our next generation, who were born in the US, to India so that they can reconnect with India, the sport, the food, the religion. People can always come and watch. Promote our culture.
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