Roseville Builds Very First Cricket Field in Placer County
By Zaki Syed

 


After the formal inauguration (left), the first ball is bowled (right)

When the South Asians migrated to America, they gave up many things that were close to their heart - food, culture, and even cultural sports. However, there is one thing that no S. Asian can give up and that is: cricket.
On every street corner, alley, and park in South Asia you can find a group of people playing the wonderful game of cricket. Throughout India and Pakistan, for as long as anyone can remember, people are overtaken with the “Cricket Fever”. Well, the South Asians in Roseville, California, are no different, and on June 2, 2007 they celebrated the inauguration of the very first cricket field in Roseville.
The cricket field is located in Maidu Park, right next to the soccer fields. To celebrate the new cricket field, the Roseville cricket club held a ribbon cutting ceremony. Dan Sahedo, the “Godfather of cricket” and president of Sacramento Cricket Association and Davis Cricket Association heartily remarked, “ It is great day, huge day, and special day for US cricket.” Sahedo, who has been associated with numerous cricket fields, said he was extremely proud of the Roseville Cricket Club, which managed to get their very own cricket field in the time span of just six months.
Zile Rehman, Roseville Cricket Club member and force behind this project, speaking on the occasion said, “We were having hurdles, trying to promote cricket in a small field.” “It is a very limited area, and we had problems with the setup.”
According to Rehman, the Roseville Cricket Club approached the Roseville City Council and sought permission to build a cricket field. Six months later, with the help and through the sponsoring of Tri-Counties bank, the City of Roseville and the Roseville Cricket Club had accomplished the task of preparing the very first cricket field in Roseville.
Khalid Saeed, Financial Services Representative for Tri Counties bank said, “ For the (South Asian) people cricket is in our blood.” Saeed said Tri Counties bank sponsored the event because they are a community bank, and they realize that people in the community had a passion for cricket.
Mike Shellito, Assisant City Manager for the City of Roseville, seemed to readily agree. “Our workforce and community has become more diverse, so we needed to create a cricket facility in order to respond to the needs the of the community.” Shellito said that he attended the event to show that the City of Roseville supports cricket.
John P, Vertido, Commission Chair for the City of Council, cut the red ribbon to inaugurate the cricket field. “Cricket is definitely a sport that everyone can play,” said Vertido. After the ribbon cutting ceremony, the attendees were served with refreshments such as pizza, sandwiches, and Gatorade. Tents were set up as many cricket players had brought along family members and friends to watch them play cricket. The players then proceeded to play cricket for the rest of the day!
On the cricket field something beautiful happened, as Pakistanis, Indians, New Zealanders, and Caucasians and different races played cricket together.
“Cricket helps in breaking racial barriers,” said Sohedo. “It’s just that kind of sport.”
Asher Cohen, who is from New Zealand, said that he was able to bond with the South Asians because they both shared a love for cricket. According to Cohen, cricket is the national sport in New Zealand. Cohen hopes that Americans too could embrace the sport of cricket the way New Zealand and South Asians have.
Twelve-year old Jacob Masters is one of those Americans who already have started to embrace the sport of cricket. Masters was presented with an award at the ceremony to represent the “Youth of America in cricket”, and commended on his fantastic performance during a cricket game. Masters was suffering from a heat stroke and throwing up, but continued to play as a fielder and refused to let any ball go past him. An avid baseball player, Masters said the switchover from baseball to cricket was smooth and easy. He feels that all Americans should play cricket for one simple reason: it is fun.
The Roseville Cricket team had a desire to play cricket, and in order to fulfill their desire they got involved in the community and the City Council. They made their dreams a reality. If Pakistan Link readers get involved they too could realize their dreams. Many community members believe that in order to be an American they have to give up their culture. However, America is about the incorporation of all types of different religions and cultures rather than strictly conforming to one. So practice your culture, eat the food you like, and most of all, play the most popular sport (after soccer) on the planet: cricket!

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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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