Tuesday, July 9, 2013


A couple of weeks ago on the golf course I got paired up with a Canadian engineer born and raised in Ottawa.

As we waited for our turn to tee off on the par-3 sixteenth, he asked me, "Do you play any other sports other than golf?"

When I mentioned I am an avid cricketer, he told me he had no idea cricket was played in Ottawa, and that he had been thoroughly confused the few times he had seen the sport on the television.

"I think it's sort of like baseball, but there just seem to be so many rules," he said.

The lingo of the game itself is enough to make an outsider fear for his sanity - wickets, stumpings, no-balls, short-legs, silly mid-ons, gullys -  the list goes on.

But cricket does, and has thrived in Canada for a long time, and the capital is no different. There is a governing body (the Ottawa Valley Cricket Council) which oversees three fully-fledged leagues featuring nine registered  teams.  

Just a few of days ago, CBC's The National did a story on the 'explosive' rise of cricket in Canada. It said that cricket in Canada has reached a point where it's not a matter of weather or not people are interested in playing the game. It's if there are enough places for them to play that's the issue.

The report said that in Toronto, the need for cricket fields has easily outweighed the demand for places to play football.

You can watch the report here.

Canada's national cricket team, unsurprisingly made up mostly of players originally from the sub-continental, is pretty decent. They are not sanctioned to play Test cricket (the sport's elite format) but have competed in the last three World Cups.
Here in Ottawa, I play for Nepean Cricket Club (no we don't keep our website up to date). They are a great bunch of guys made-up mostly of Sri Lankans and south Indians. We practice on Thursdays, and play matches against other teams on the weekends.

With my ability to swing the new ball both ways, I open the bowling for my team and am a sturdy bat in the middle-order.

Those of you unfamiliar with cricket are probably feeling rather lost right now.

Matches are played at Lynda Lane Park, and Rideau Hall, where the century-old English tradition of playing the gentlemanly game of cricket in the precincts of the gardens of the Governor General's residence is still well and truly alive.

In the winter, we play a three-month winter league inside Carleton University's Fieldhouse. It's a much reduced format from the outdoor version, but it's still cricket.

So listen up soccer and hockey: move over - cricket is here to stay.

Btw - apologies if you've been receiving random emails from my blog. The service is automated, and rather glitchy as I've found out. 

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