September 18, 2019

Cricket is catching on in the Salt Lake Valley

Volunteer Jenn Goodrum instructs children in the basics of cricket at the Utah Cricket Association’s Youth Camp last year at 11th Avenue Park. Photo courtesy of Utah Cricket Association|Local cricket teams, Utah Lions v. Salt Lake Knights, take advantage of the new cricket pitch at Rosewood Park last August.  Photo by Fahad Rana|||| Volunteer Jenn Goodrum instructs children in the basics of cricket at the Utah Cricket Association’s Youth Camp last year at 11th Avenue Park. Photo courtesy of Utah Cricket Association|Local cricket teams, Utah Lions v. Salt Lake Knights, take advantage of the new cricket pitch at Rosewood Park last August. Photo by Fahad Rana|||| |||||

By Katherin Nelson

This summer, the Utah Cricket Association constructed a cricket pitch in Rosewood Park on 1400 West and 1200 North. Omar Alam, the president of the Utah Cricket Association, answers questions about cricket for  The West View as he plans the new cricket events for the west side.

What is cricket?

Cricket is very similar to baseball; the main concept is throw the ball, hit the ball. Cricket has a few more rules, but it has more action than baseball and that is why cricket can become a mainstream sport.

How was the Utah Cricket Association formed?

A bunch of guys got together and started going to neighboring states to play national and local level cricket tournaments. We realized when we would visit these states, we would find great infrastructure, so we came back and decided to organize the sport and start an all-star team in 2015. You’ve heard of Real Salt Lake, you’ve heard of the Utah Jazz, but nobody has heard of Utah Seagulls. So, believe it or not, we actually have a cricket team for Utah.

How big is the league?

Currently we have 160 adult members and we have 20 kids in the youth league. My expectation is that the youth league will grow from 20 to 80 or 100 this year. There is a lot of demand and a lot of kids want to play cricket.

Who plays on the league?

Cricket is played in a lot of countries – all of the British colonies in the world, so countries like England, South Africa, India and Pakistan. All of these countries have smaller communities here in Utah, and a lot of the kids in the league are from these communities, although we involve the local kids too. People are loving it.

Where do they play?

Circket is played on a cricket pitch, which has a similar layout to where the pitcher and batter are positioned in baseball. We have a cricket pitch at 11th Avenue Park in Salt Lake City and one in American Fork at Art Dye Park, and now we have a cricket pitch in Rose Park at Rosewood Park.

What will the cricket pitch bring to the Rose Park community?

We wanted to build a cricket pitch in between the outer bounds of two soccer fields because we don’t want to compete with other sports; we want to coexist. We were excited about the opportunity to build in Rose Park because we wanted to go on the west side and bring people and money into the west-side. People will be coming to watch games from the north and south of the valley on Saturdays and Sundays and they’ll spend time and eat near the games. In additional to the money and business, it will bring more diversity and cultural events.

Why should someone pick up cricket as a new sport?

Cricket has a lot of history in the United States. The first international game was actually played between Canada and the USA. But somewhere down the line, cricket slowly died down in the USA because it was a British sport. It’s faster than baseball, has more action, and you don’t need a baseball diamond, and since you can hit the ball backwards, you’re not playing in a pizza slice like in baseball; you play the whole pie in a circular field. We don’t want to compete with baseball; cricket should exist on its own.

What kind of events will be held at the new cricket pitch in Rosewood Park?

Local leagues have been playing at Rosewood Park, and the current schedule can be found at http://www.ucacricket.org/. We have an introduction to cricket event planned in collaboration with Beehive Sports, which will be held on Oct. 5th from 1 p.m. - 4 p.m.

How can someone sign up to play?

People can sign up by contacting us through our website http://www.ucacricket.org/UtahCricketAssoc/contactUs.do?clubId=885

More information about the Utah Cricket Association and upcoming events can be found on the Facebook or Instagram @UtahCricketAssociation