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Oklahoma Men’s Cricket Tournament

Bill O'Brien / Red Dirt Report
Participants in the recent Oklahoma Men's Cricket Tournament in Oklahoma City.
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OKLAHOMA CITY -- The semi annual Oklahoma Men’s Cricket Tournament was held on the campus of the Mercy School on Saturday, with many cricketeers aligning themsevles with the various, colorful teams.

Teams of seemingly determined men could be seen congregating near the cricket field, and it was explained that the  color of their jerseys indicated what team they were affiliated with. The teams included the  Orange Cheetahs, the  Green Giants, the  Yellow Suns,  the Red Devils,  and the Gray Jaguars.

Two individuals, Syed Rizvi and Mudaffar Saleem, who are physicians currently employed at the OU Medical Center, served as commentators, and they provided comments and insights on the games to the attendees in both English and the Pakistani tongue of Urdu  via microphone and did so in an enthusiastic and sometimes satiric manner.

The games themselves involved a man who brandished a large wide bat who was pitched a ball by a member of the opposing team who ran towards him before the ball was thrown.  On occasion the ball was hit out of the field in the equivalent of a home run, which prompted cheers from the attendees and praise from the commentators.

The phrase “ a sticky wicket” is  often heard in the United Kingdom where cricket originated, and  it was explained by Dr. Saleem that if the ball ever hit the wicket that was place on the field the batter was automatically out.

A  member of his team stood guard over the wicket to try to make sure that that did not happen. And the physician explained that he  and some  of his medical  colleagues started the tournament several years ago  in part to encourage members of the Indian, Pakistani, and Bangladeshi  communities in Oklahoma to  engage in physical activity as a way to improve their health.

Many members of those immigrant groups were working very hard to support their families and were not exercising enough. By starting cricket contests, which was a  game that most of those men had played in their youth, they succeeded in bringing some of them to the athletic field once again.

In addition,  the tournaments have become a social event  with many women and children present and cheering on the teams that their friends and relatives are on. Some of the young children wore jerseys that were smaller versions of the ones worn by the players  

There is a basketball court adjacent to the field and boys of various ages could be seen shooting baskets as their parents and siblings watched the games under a canvas tent.

And an adjacent playground with swings was filled with joyous  young children. Refreshments were provided from a booth operated by the Tikka Craze Grill of Oklahoma City that offered a variety of kabobs, wraps, bread, and milky tea.

Cricket is played throughout  what had formerly been the British Empire, and one of the commentators referenced a skilled player from Australia who had played previously in a Oklahoma City tournament.  

Saleem further said that it was hoped that the tournaments would prompt an interest in cricket on the part of the children of the immigrants, and would encourage them to play the game.

But the physician reported that while his teenage son  Hayyan, who was present  enjoys watching the tournaments, the sport that he prefers to participate in is basketball. He attributed that preference in part to his son’s  impressive height and his devotion to the Oklahoma City Thunder basketball team.

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About the Author

Bill O'Brien

Bill O'Brien is an attorney based in Oklahoma City.

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About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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