Cricket: history and how to get involved

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I know the name of the game sounds cute, but by the look of this safety equipment it’s anything but. Cricket Club Regina

Did you know we have roughly 400 cricket players in Regina? Tune in to learn more…

While not as popular in Canada, the game of cricket is possibly the most popular sports in most of South Asia, both in terms of the number of people who follow the sport and the number who play it casually/semi-casually. In addition to South Asia, cricket is also widely popular in the Caribbean Islands, Australia, South Africa, and of course, the home of cricket, England. In fact, most countries other than England that play cricket possibly had it introduced there sometime in the past by the British.

There used to be a time when there was only one form of cricket, called test cricket. A test match would go on for five days, for about 8-10 hours a day with frequent breaks for refreshments and strategy discussions. Needless to say, this format of the game calls for significant investment of time and energy to follow, and often at the end of the fifth day there is no clear winner.

Test cricket is still played around the world. In fact, at the time of this writing, the Indian national team is playing a series of test matches in England, against England. However, several decades ago, organizers behind these games realized that there is room for a game format that demands less in terms of time from both players and spectators. This led to the development of the One Day International format, popularly referred to as the ODI. As the name suggests, this format of the game goes on for one day and, except for the extremely rare tie, always ends with a clear winner.

When ODIs were first introduced, many cricket purists were horrified at the cheapening and commercialization of the game. Today, the highest international body for cricket, the International Cricket Council (ICC) organizes the Cricket World Cup once every four years, where all the games are in the ODI format. After all, it is hard to determine a world cup winner if the game format often allows for “no clear winner.” As a humorous aside, soccer fan friends often give this cricket fan a hard time over how an event with less than 16 countries participating should not be called the World Cup.

While it is true that cricket is not played in as many countries as soccer, the passion with which it is followed more than makes up for it. During a World Cup match where their country was playing, shops and offices across Bangladesh or India are effectively closed down so that people can follow the game. Former President Barack Obama once joked about how he does not understand cricket, but would like to learn, so that he can understand why the productivity across the USA is lowest whenever a man called Sachin Tendulkar comes out to bat. To the uninitiated, Sachin Tendulkar was one of the youngest athletes in cricket, a mainstay of the Indian team for nearly four decades, and an undisputed legend of the game.

In more recent years, even shorter formats of the game have been introduced, such as the T20 and the T10, which last around three to five hours. In addition, particularly across countries with colder climates, indoor cricket has become more popular. Our very own Queen City also has a cricket scene, and in order to find out more, we got in touch with the oldest cricket club in town: the Regina Cavaliers. We spoke to Richard from the Regina Cavaliers.

For how long has cricket been played in Regina?  
 

Cricket has been played here since 1965, and became an official Provincial Sport in 1972.

What times of the year do you play? 
 

We play from May till the end of September outdoors.

How often are there cricket games? How many cricket clubs are there in the city?

There are multiple games every weekend, depending on the format and the length of the format. There is a T10, T20 and One Day league going on currently, which range from anywhere between two hours to eight hours in length. There are currently 16 cricket clubs in the league, making up 35 teams in total.


What background/experience is needed to join one of the clubs? What are the conditions and benefits of membership?

Every club is different, but we are all willing to have new members at any time. Each club will have a different way in which they handle membership, and it is best to contact some of the clubs directly to find out more.  
 

Currently, how popular is cricket in Regina? How many people would you say play regularly or are somehow involved with the game in the city?

It is extremely popular in the city as there are about 400 members currently playing in Regina.  
 

Where are the games usually held? Are there any specific cricket grounds in Regina?

There are currently three cricket venues in the city. Douglas Park, Grassick Park, and then Westerra Park is the newest addition. All have concrete pitch and matting on them. The league and the City of Regina are in charge of maintaining the grounds and the pitch.
 

How can someone interested get more involved with playing cricket, or join one of the cricket clubs?

Really, its just contacting one of the clubs and they will be happy to direct you.  
 

Is there anything else you would want cricket fans in Regina to know? 
 

The sport has progressed dramatically over the past 50 years. When it started, there were three teams – now we are up to three Leagues and 35 teams within. It is a very diverse group of individuals with members from all over the world. It really is a sport of culture. 

More information about the cricket clubs in Regina, rules and forms, current news, and schedule of games can be found on the website of the Regina Cricket Association at

reginacricketassociation.com.

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