As the bowler prepares to deliver the ball, Bokey hits his bat four times on the ground. When the ball comes down the stretch, Bokey smacks it off to the right, thinks about scoring a run but then decides to stay put.
The Louisville Cricket Club, a nearly 50-member group started in 2013, was busy practicing for an upcoming tournament. Bokey, who’s the club captain, has been playing cricket since he lived in India and wanted to continue the sport when he came to the U.S. in 2001.
Recently, he’s been looking to expand the membership of the club. “I want to get Louisville on the world map of cricket,” Bokey said. He said interested people can contact him at email@example.com.
Cricket in Louisville
Nikhil Deo said he wants cricket to grow in this region. With this goal in mind, club members and others have been working with officials at Metro Parks and Recreation to build a larger cricket pitch at Hays Kennedy Park, 7303 Beachland Beach Road.
Marty Storch, deputy director of Metro Parks and Recreation, said money for the pitch was appropriated last year in response to the growing number of cricket players in Louisville.
The goal is to have the project finished by the end of June or early July.
“When it’s all finished we’ll have a championship cricket pitch right here in Louisville,” Storch said.
What is cricket?
While there is a bat and ball and the objective is to hit the ball and score runs, there are likely more technicalities involved in cricket than America’s self-proclaimed pastime.
As Deo explained, there are analogies to be made between baseball and cricket, although after sometime that begins to blur.
Some notable differences include:
- The iconic baseball diamond is replaced with a circular field.
- In cricket, there are batsman not batters and bowlers not pitchers.
- Once you’re out in cricket you’re out for good, and there are 10 ways for that to happen.
- While a homerun may potentially yield up to four runs in baseball, hitting the ball out of the cricket field without touching the ground equals six runs in cricket.
- You’ll never reach the bottom of the ninth inning in cricket, the shortest version of cricket has one inning.
However, while the sports may differ in several aspects, there are still common elements.
Konrad Kijewski, who has played cricket for 26 years and is typically a batsman for the team, said the focus needed when facing a bowler or pitcher is the same.
“You’re trying to decipher which one it’s going to be, hit the ball, score some runs. … You have to concentrate,” he said.
History of cricket
As Sally Hadden, associate professor of history at Western Michigan University, said cricket “followed the British flag” and the game was largely an extension of the British empire.
Hadden said the rise of cricket in the U.S. goes back to post-World War II when doctoral programs started expanding across the country, leading to more individuals coming to the U.S. for education.
She said there are two types of traditional cricket: county cricket and test cricket. And two more widely popularized forms which came about the middle of the century: Twenty20 and One Day International (ODI). All share the same core rules but differ greatly in the length of matches.
Cricket in India
Vikas Singh started playing cricket when he was 11 in India and played professionally starting at 19. He immigrated to the U.S. six years ago where he started playing in the Carolina Cricket League.
He moved to Louisville recently for his job where he works in Frankfort in state government.
Reflecting on his several years of playing the sport, Singh thought back to when he was moving to Louisville and his wife wasn’t able to move with him immediately.
He said he could either make the eight hour drive to see her on the weekends or play cricket.
“So I chose cricket,” Singh said.