Cricket in Birmingham? Watch matches every Saturday and Sunday at East Lake Park

Cricket in Birmingham. Photo from the Birmingham Thunder Facebook page

A couple of years ago, I wrote about a phenomenon happening at Birmingham’s East Lake Park.

Cricket matches.

 

Unbeknownst to football-crazy Alabamians, the game of cricket is just behind soccer and basketball as the world’s most popular sport.  

Despite the global pandemic, the sport of cricket is thriving in Birmingham with Saturday and Sunday matches regularly scheduled at East Lake Park. 

Recently, I took in a match between the Birmingham Thunder and the Hoover Strikers.

This is what a match looks like.

For folks wanting to learn a new sport or become a fan, here is a description from my 2018 story by Birmingham Thunder’s Shams Noorani on how to play the game.

How to play cricket

Cricket is much like baseball, without the diamond, gloves on every fielder and a strike zone.

We asked Noorani to describe the game.

The Set Up

Cricket is a game played between two teams, generally of 11 members each. In essence, it is single combat, in which an individual batsman does battle against an individual bowler, who has helpers known as fielders. 

Bowler v. Batsman

Cricket in Birmingham. Photo from the Birmingham Thunder Facebook page

The bowler propels the ball with a straight arm from one end of the 22-yard pitch in an attempt to dismiss the batsman by hitting a target known as the wicket at the other end, or by causing the batsman to hit the ball into the air into a fielder’s grasp, or by inducing one of a number of other indiscretions.

Scoring

The batsman attempts to defend the wicket with the bat and to score runs – the currency of the game – by striking the ball to the field boundary, or far enough from the fielders to allow the batsman to run to the other end of the pitch before the ball can be returned. At least two bowlers must take turns, from alternating ends; also, there are always two batsmen on the field, each to take a turn as required. When all but one of the batting team have been dismissed – or after an agreed period – the teams’ roles are reversed. After all the players required to bat on both sides have done so either once or twice (which can take from a few hours to five days) the total number of runs accumulated determines the winner. But sometimes there isn’t one.”

League in Birmingham

Cricket in Birmingham. Photo from the Hoover Striker Facebook page

Interested in playing or watching cricket locally? There are eight teams in the Birmingham Cricket League. They regularly play on Saturday and Sunday at 9:30am and 2:00pm.

Cricket is primarily played in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Australia and the United Kingdom. For local residents from these nations, playing the game reminds them of home.

“The main purpose for our league is recreational. But, it also gives us a feeling of home – a home away from home. It is a semi-competitive sport. We are here to have fun.” ~ Santosh Muthyam, Captain of the Hoover Strikers.

Interested in Playing

The Birmingham Cricket League has a great website with league schedules, team rosters and ways to get involved in the game. Check it out.

See you out at the East Lake Park Grounds!!

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Pat Byington
Longtime conservationist. Former Executive Director at the Alabama Environmental Council and Wild South. Publisher of the Bama Environmental News for more than 18 years. Career highlights include playing an active role in the creation of Alabama's Forever Wild program, Little River Canyon National Preserve, Dugger Mountain Wilderness, preservation of special places throughout the East through the Wilderness Society and the strengthening (making more stringent) the state of Alabama's cancer risk and mercury standards.
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