[edit] Keeping things cricket

Charity tournament provides nostalgia for players, fans

By RICK BADIE The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Sujan Bhattacharya grew up playing cricket in Calcutta the way Americans play baseball.

"I've been playing since I was 5 or 6," said Bhattacharya, captain of the Laganwala, one of several Gwinnett County teams taking part in a 48-team cricket tournament this weekend in Atlanta.

"It's one of the most popular games in India," said the Suwanee resident, who manages a consulting engineering firm. "I have no doubt in my mind that, maybe in 10 years, local folks will start playing."

For now, the international sport that's second only to soccer in popularity remains an oddity in America. Indian-Americans, like Bhattacharya, find respite by hooking up on school playgrounds, grassy knolls, at mosques and shopping centers like the Global Mall on Jimmy Carter Boulevard.

Saturday at Georgia Tech, the teams will compete in the Cricket Cup, which started four years ago. So many teams signed up for the two-day event, organizers may schedule matches for next weekend, too.

The tournament is a fund-raiser for Vibha, a charity for underprivileged children of India with chapters in eight cities, including Atlanta. Registration fees will be used to help the local group contribute to a school building and literacy program begun in remote Indian communities, said Giri Coneti, a Vibha spokesman.

"This tournament is a marketing tool," explained Coneti. "It creates nostalgia for immigrants who haven't played cricket since moving here, and it gives them a platform to relive those moments they played when living in India.

"It combines nostalgia with the good cause of funding projects," Coneti continued. "Successful businessmen here who are leading technology companies can give back some of what they have earned in this land of opportunity, which is what they come here for."

What, exactly, is cricket?

It is, like Bhattacharya and others explain, similar to baseball. Both sports use pitchers and batters, but in cricket those players are called bowlers and batsmen. Players run bases in cricket, too, but only two. The ball is hard and cork-like.

In the game, two teams of 11 players face off. Two batsmen stand at opposite ends of the cricket pitch, guarding their wickets -- creases in the playing field that are their territory. The pitcher (or bowler) and the catcher (or wicket keeper) also position themselves outside the pitch area, with the remaining nine players spread over the outfield.

The bowler positions himself at one end of the pitch near one batsman and bowls to the batsman at the other end of the pitch. The batsman is in the center of a field that is 60 yards in all directions. Any ball hit in that area is in play. When one batsman hits the ball, the bowler moves out of the way, and the two batsmen run back and forth between each other's wickets, scoring runs each time they trade places. There are many ways to get a batsman out. When 10 batsmen are out, the inning is over, and the next team comes to bat. While the short version of the game lasts a day, longer ones are played for two days or more.

Cricket was first played in the fields of England in the 12th century, but the game wasn't formalized until the 18th century with the establishment of the Hambledon Club in England, the first cricket club. The most prestigious cricket event is the World Cup Cricket Competition, which includes teams from the West Indies, Australia, Pakistan, India, England, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe and South Africa.

Local cricketers say a sport that's revered in the nonbaseball world eventually will make headway in cities like Atlanta. They compare it to soccer, another international sport, which has gained mass appeal.

During the 2003 Cricket World Cup competitions earlier this year, metro Atlanta immigrants stayed up into the wee hours, rose early and missed work to watch games.

The U.S. team didn't qualify for world play.

Right now, love for the sport "is still limited within the Asian community, especially Indians and Pakistanis and Bangladeshis," said Bhattacharya, who hopes to, at the very least, make the semifinals of today's tournament of eight-player teams.

"I see a lot of [American] guys watch it, and they ask a lot of questions about it, but they still don't feel that attracted to it, like baseball, football or soccer."

Still, they expect Americans to take to the sport -- some day.

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[edit] Upcoming Events

Volunteer Meeting - July 9th, 2016 Saturday 2:00 to 4:00PM Johns Creek Fire Station

Local volunteering @ Fostercare Support Foundation – Saturday July 30, 2016 – 10am-Noon

Dream Mile 2016 – Sep 17, 2016

[edit] Recent Events

Volunteer Meeting - June 12th, 2016 Sunday 2:00 to 4:00PM OCEE Library

Volunteer Meeting - April 2nd, 2016 , Saturday 2:00 to 4:00PM Sharon Forks Library, 2820 Old Atlanta Road, Cumming 20041 GA

Vibha Cricket Cup 2016, April 16th

Volunteer Meeting - May 14th, 2016 , Saturday 3:00 to 5:00PM Sharon Forks Library, 2820 Old Atlanta Road, Cumming 20041 GA

Volunteer Meeting - Oct 10th, 2015 Saturday 2:00 to 4:00PM OCEE Library

Dream Mile 2015 - Sept 19th

Foster Care Volunteering, August 1, 2015

Volunteer Meeting - July 11th, Saturday 2:00 to 4:00PM

Volunteer Meeting - June 7th, Sunday 2:00 to 4:00PM, Johns Creek Fire Station No. 62

Vibha Cricket 2015 - April 2015

Youth Volunteer Meeting - April 26th, Sunday 12 to 2PM, Shakerag Firestation (Near Shakerag Elementary)

Vibha Chess 2015 - February 7th 2015

Volunteer Meeting - February 14th, 2015 - 2:30 pm - 4:30 pm @ OCEE Library

Vibha Table Tennis 2015 - February 28th 2015

Volunteer Meeting - January 10th, 2015 - 2:30 pm @ OCEE Library

Local Volunteering @CRN Gift Wrapping, December 20th 2014

Volunteer Meeting - December 6th 2014

Dream Mile 2014 - Sept 20th

Vibha Cricket 2014

Dream Play 2014

Dream Mile 2013

FutureTech Vibha Cricket Cup 2013

Dream Play 2013 - February 16th, 2013

Paramount Software Dream Mile 2012

FutureTech Cricket Cup 2012

Dream Play 2012 (Khel Mela) - March 24th, 2012

Hands-On Volunteering - Dec. 18th, 2011

Paramount Software Dream Mile 2011 - Oct 1st

Vibha Open - Tennis Tournament - Aug 20th

Krishna Kanhaiya - June 19th

FutureTech Vibha Cricket Cup 2011

Vibe - March 5th 2011

Past Events

[edit] In the Press

Cricket and Service: A Perfect Duo

FutureTech commits $50K in the next 5 years to Vibha Cricket Cup

K-MACS Dream Play 2012

FutureTech Vibha Cricket Cup 2011 - Khabar (July 2011)

International Dance Festival raises funds for children’s causes! - Khabar (February 2011)

12th Annual Dream Mile - Khabar (October 2010)

FutureTech Vibha Cricket Cup 2010 - Khabar (July 2010)

11th Annual Dream Mile - Khabar (October 2009)

Pyramid Consulting Super16 (July 2009)

FutureTech Vibha Cricket Cup 2009 - Khabar (June 2009)

Sanket Systems Khel Mela 2009 - Khabar (May 2009)

Older Press Releases

Vibha is a 501 (c) (3) organization, registered in the State of New Jersey. Vibha's Tax ID is 22-3122761.
Copyright © 2016 Vibha Inc. All rights reserved.
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