A bit of Great Britain landed in Water Ridge Park on Saturday as the city of Humboldt presented the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebration. Along with bouncy castles, burgers, a night time movie and other events, members of the Saskatoon Cricket Association visited. The group set up a pair of wickets and youngsters were able to have a crack at one the England’s and the Commonwealth’s favourite sports.
Cricket is not a firmly embedded pastime in rural Saskatchewan, but the sport has taken hold in larger centres. Khawaja Mustafa Rashid with the Association was happy to be in Humboldt with his colleagues, sharing his excitement over the sport.
Cricket Saskatoon has been in operation since the ‘90s. We’ve been trying to promote cricket year by year, and since I joined in 2010, now we have 18 teams in Saskatoon. In 2010 we had only one.”
Rashid attributes the growth to new immigrants coming to Saskatoon from cricket-familiar places like south Asia, the Caribbean and South Africa. Cricket clubs are active in Regina, Prince Albert and Weyburn, but Rashid and the members of Cricket Saskatoon continue to criss-cross the province, re-introducing communities to the sport that had been part of the province’s development.
“When we got the invitation, I got really excited to come down with our volunteers to help get more people involved, to know what cricket is, and to come and have fun.”
Cricket comes in a variety of formats, explains Rashid, with multi day long tournaments down to a shorter format that sees a match span about three hours. He notes the Olympic Committee is examining the prospect of a T-10 format with matches contained to about 90 minutes. Rashid likens the game to baseball with a pitch and bat format. But anyone who has watched a cricket match knows the importance of the wicket, the playing field, and the specialized rules that make it a unique game.
The kids at Water Ridge Park lined up on Friday to have a go at batting, and excitement reigned with each swing. Rashid and the folks at the Saskatoon Cricket Association invite everyone to watch a match and discover the excitement of this revered sport. More information can be found at cricketsask.com.