Night Cricket in Arizona Brightens the Spirit of Ramadan
By Yousuf Bhuvad

While many of us grew up playing Ramadan night cricket in Pakistan, the thought of reliving this dream in our new homeland seemed far-fetched. Five years ago, cricket enthusiasts in Chandler, Arizona decided to make this dream a reality by organizing a night cricket game during Ramadan. The game became so popular that  it has now become an annual event.

The night cricket starts at 11:30 pm at a ball park in Chandler, Arizona during one of the nights in Ramadan and continues till close to the Sahoor time.

It takes a fair amount of planning to organize this game. Uzair Qureshi, the coordinator of the game, sends out a message to the prospective players. Over 26 players are signed up for a good game. The ball park is reserved for the night with special permission from the city of Chandler for the use of the facility and the lights past 10 pm. The cricket supplies, if needed, are ordered. After several emails the game is confirmed.

This year the game was planned on Saturday, September 13, 2008.  The cricket players started arriving at the brightly lit ball park around 11:30 pm. The mat was laid out on the ground and the wickets placed properly. Uzair and Sohail, the captains of the teams, selected their team members from the pool of 22 present at the time.

Uzair’s team won the toss and elected to bat. His team scored 120 runs in 15 overs. Sohail’s team failed to meet this challenge and collapsed scoring just 65 runs.

New teams were selected for the second game this time led by Salman and Bilal. Bilal’s team won the second game by a slim margin.

As always, there were few shouting matches between the opposing teams when there were disagreements on scores, number of overs, wide balls and run outs. In the end, every body recognized this was all for the fun. At the end of the game, the players hugged to show solidarity and shrugged off any hard feelings.

It was 3:45 am and about an hour to go for Sahoor. The players quickly packed the supplies into the vans and decided to go to Denny’s for the breakfast/Sahoor. The Denny’s staff, being aware of Ramadan, diligently served 15 meals in 30 minutes helping the group to meet the deadline for the start of the fast. The group enjoyed their meals while having a friendly conversation. It was 5:00 am and most people were ready to dash home and catch up on sleep.

The group bid farewell to one another hoping to repeat this enjoyable experience next year.




Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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