MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — In football and especially in baseball, there’s been a big emphasis lately on trying to make the games go quicker. It takes too long, critics say, which must sound crazy to those who play one of the most popular sports in the world, which is growing in popularity in Minnesota.
“Today on this ground, you are watching two teams playing the premier division league,” Rajesh Prabu said. “Very comparative teams, a lot of great talent going on today.”
At Bryn Mawr Meadows Park in Minneapolis, a game you don’t see too often in America.
“All you need to do is hit the ball as far as you can, like baseball,” Prabu said.
This is the Minnesota Cricket Association, a league that’s been around more than 30 years and has more than two dozen teams. Their games are on the weekend, at six different parks around the metro.
Maybe the most popular sport in the world that most Americans have no idea how to play.
“Cricket is very popularly played in Asia. It originated from the British, and when they were going around the world, they spread, the British colonies pretty much spread cricket around the world,” Prabu said.
“It’s been very popular back home, and when we all moved as immigrants, we wanted ourselves to keep playing a game that we like. And then we started playing, and it’s growing, and getting popular day by day.”
That’s right, it is growing in America.
“It is getting popular. Not at the pace of soccer, or other games, because cricket is a very long game,” Prabu said.
That’s what separates cricket from other sports. A single game here in the Minnesota league will last seven-and-a-half to eight hours.
“For people in the western world, they like it short and sweet. You know, like a baseball game or a basketball game about three hours, maybe for a football game about four hours,” Prabu said.
“Nobody has the time to be on the field for eight hours. We do, because we like it. We play a game which consists of 40 overs. Each over consists of six pitches. So six times 40, that’s about 240 pitches. That’s why it takes that long.”
There’s a real sense of community here. Especially for those who have emigrated to Minnesota from cricket’s most popular countries — India and Pakistan. For as far around the world as you’ve come, the chance to play your favorite sport is a big deal.
“The passion we have for the game, we do go looking around where it is being played,” Prabu said.
Right here in Minnesota.