Cricket In The Road and Other Stories

 

Colin Mohammed
e-mail: Colin_mohammed@hotmail.com

 
  8/5/03

Having just recently returned from Trinidad I was struck by a sight† while driving along through the suburbs.

You see, a few years ago, my future wife used to look at me as if I belonged in a madhouse when I said "there will be a time when you will see cricket in the road." Well, my friends, not long after I disembarked from the airplane and was driving home I was hit by 2 separate sights. I saw a group of young boys playing cricket on the sidewalk using a chair and a garbage can for wickets and no doubt striking terror into the various flowerbeds lurking nearby. Further into my journey home, I saw another lad scurrying along at breakneck pace on a bike carrying a softball cricket bat. Funny, I thought, I left Trinidad only a few hours ago.

A sight as I have described is commonplace in the various streets wherever we may have migrated from, but to finally see it on the suburbs of Mississauga is a sign that we are coming into a time when cricket will contribute to the overall cultural landscape of Canada. It is also a sign that talented players are somewhere in those homes, in the schools and universities and are looking for a place to show their stuff to the public. In the heady days of the early immigration to Canada from cricket playing countries, was it common to see this phenomenon? Likely not. We have come of age where there is no fear of cultural self expression in the streets.

I know that organized leagues take place in the various universities around the Toronto area and if I hazard a guess based on my wifeís acute observations at other southern Ontario universities, there are some varying degrees of organized play be it with the notorious "taped tennis" or, as is the starter game in the islands simply a tennis ball. A close friend of mine even asked me to pass along some information to any "Pakistanis" I run into that they rented a city park and play organized "taped tennis" matches and are welcome to join individually or as a team. Imagine that, a bunch of young, educated lads taking the initiative to rent a park, organize and "advertise" cricket matches. Only in Canada eh! These late 20s to early 30s boys, many of whom I went to high school with will not stand for a weak national team in their own country. I wonder what would happen if t hey were given a chance to organize a National selection camp?

How easy it is to miss the obvious changes going on in our streets, no longer is it an oddity to speak of cricket in some distant faraway, romantic term. One day a box score in the papers might read "Police vs Airport Authority".

In Trini vernacular (read it aloud and with emotion) "You telling me, that in a place where you could walk down the street and see young boys playing cricket in the road that you canít find 14 youths to train? What is the problem? You drunk or what?"

I wonder if Micheal Anthony is part of the curriculum at the Guelph University. Can anyone answer?

Colin can be found wandering around the city looking for forms of cultural self expression. You can contact him at colin_mohammed@hotmail.com

Editors note:

The following is quoted from Sir Garfield Sobers:

To me, it is always easy to pick a young batsman who has had the benefit of tennisball cricket. He moves into position behind the line of the ball without hesitation, whereas a boy who has learned the game with a hard ball is often wary of being hit and a little tentative when moving into the correct position.