Orange County Cricket Fans Get New Ground
April 26th, 2013 | WMFE- Orlando area cricket fans are celebrating the opening of a brand new ground for the sport. Cricket enthusiasts gathered to try out the new pitch at Silver Star Community Park near Pine Hills Friday morning.
[Image: Commissioner Tiffany Moore Russell tries out cricket at the new Silver Star Community Park venue]
The summer game of cricket is a bit like baseball. It started in England but now it is played all around the world. In Florida it has an enthusiastic following.
James Merchant, the president of the Central Florida Cricket Umpires Association, says there has been a growing demand for a local venue for the sport.
“Cricket is becoming a very popular game in our area, you have a lot of West Indian, Indian and Pakistanis and our main sport is cricket," he said.
Merchant said he is excited the new ground is now match ready.
"It’s beautiful as you can see.”
Orange County commissioner Tiffany Moore Russell, who cut the ribbon before trying out the cricket pitch, said the county’s been trying to find a home for local cricketers for ten years.
"It connects them to their home and where they are from," she said.
"Having the cricket pitch here, provides a base for them and their community."
Although there's a daunting list of rules for how to play cricket, Moore Russell thinks the game could catch on with children in the area.
"One of the things about Americans is we're very competitive and we're willing to try different things. Once we expose our children to different sports and opportunities, then they'll try it," she said.
Former West Indian international cricketer Sheik Faoud Bacchus- who also captained the US national team- was at the opening of the new ground.
Bacchus said for cricket to thrive, it needs to be played at schools.
"Like soccer," said Bacchus. "America didn't know soccer before- this is how they did it: they introduced it into the schools."
Commissioner Moore Russell said it cost about half a million dollars to develop the ground- the next step will be looking for funds to put in floodlights.