Pittsburgh Cricket led by South Fayette resident
The Pittsburgh Cricket Club was originally incorporated in 1882, with its modern revival as the Pittsburgh Cricket Association being established in 2004. The nonprofit corporation promotes and cultivates the sport of cricket in Pittsburgh and northwestern Pennsylvania while developing and training amateur athletes for representation in state, national and international cricket competitions.
“Currently, there are 28 teams,” said South Fayette Township resident Shailesh Bokil, president of the PCA. “There are 16 teams in the hardball league and 12 in the softball league.”
Members come from all over Pittsburgh and West Virginia, and some teams feature players who travel in from other states on the weekends to play.
Although women’s cricket is played at the international level, to date there has not been the same level of following as men’s cricket.
“PCA wants to be a change agent and welcomes women players to train and play on the men’s teams until there is enough membership to have a women’s league,” Bokil said. Just this year, the group welcomed its first female player.
The season is from April through the end of September. Team fees are collected to cover field rental, cricket balls, a scoring app, website maintenance, player/match/league reporting and statistics, an annual awards function, and a gala dinner. All players typically have their own gear and teams have their own uniforms.
All the teams play in a round-robin format April through August. The top eight teams then qualify for the playoffs, which are being played this month at Linbrook Cricket Field in Wexford.
PCA encourages the teams and fans to support the environment by not using plastic bottles during the game which, on average, lasts about four hours. The league provides 5-gallon containers of Gatorade and squeeze bottles.
The organization is looking to begin a kids program with certified coaches with the goal of having a youth league once there is sufficient membership. To this end, they held a two-day under-18 cricket camp this past June. Another challenge to the association is the dearth of community fields that have been allocated for cricket. Currently, there are three fields in the area: Linbrook, Hempfield in Greensburg, and Edgebrook Field in South Park. In the entire region only one of those fields is regulation size and has all the proper facilities in terms of playing surface.
“Cricket is the second most popular sport in the world with a 2.5 billion fan base, second only to soccer,” explained Bokil. “PCA is trying to make efforts at the grass-roots level in Pittsburgh to increase diversity and attract talent to this region.”
For more information, visit www.pittsburghcricket.com .
Charlotte Smith is a Tribune-Review contributing writer. Reach her at 724-693-9441 or [email protected] .