RICHMOND (Covering Fort Bend News) — Fort Bend County dedicated its second cricket pitch on Saturday Morning at Jones Creek Ranch Park, 7714 FM 359.
Leaders who took part in the dedication spoke of their interest in learning more about cricket but only one of them actually played the sport during his childhood and he has the injured finger to show for it.
Before he emigrated from India in 1993, Fort Bend County Judge K.P. George enjoyed playing cricket. In cricket, unlike in baseball, a fielder uses his or her bare hands to catch fly balls. Many years ago, George misjudged the trajectory of a fly ball and bent the ring finger on his left hand out of shape.
George said he went to his doctor, who said if the situation wasn’t bothersome, to just let it go. George did, and today you have to look very closely to see the injury.
The incident didn’t diminish George’s enjoyment of cricket. He said cricket is the world’s second-most popular sport after soccer.
“The Indian team is our national team, and then there are numerous leagues out there,” George said. “The Indian team is one of the best in the world.”
Cricket was surely popular with the crowd of about 200 people on hand for Saturday’s festivities. Many of them wore cricket gear for the first game, between the Katy Youth and the Energy Youth cricket clubs.
George described cricket as “a game very close to the heart,” and added that thousands of Houston-area cricket fans traveled to London last month to watch the ICC Cricket World’s Cup, which England won. But he also said that cricket is a community sport, not just an India or Pakistan sport. George said clinics are going to be offered where people can learn all about the sport.
“I want everybody coming and playing,” George said, predicting that even more cricket pitches will be built—and booked for games—during the next 3-4 years.
Precinct 3 Commissioner Andy Meyers said a common misperception American sports fans have about cricket is the time it takes to play a match.
“You have to get the entire side out” and not just three batters, Meyers said, adding that a game could possibly last three, four, or perhaps even five days.
Meyers said future plans for the Jones Creek Ranch Park include lights so games can be played during the evening hours. Baseball fields are also planned.
“We’ve been trying to get this going for some time,” Meyers said. “It was old and not in the best shape.”
The Jones Creek Ranch Park cricket pitch is the second public cricket pitch in Fort Bend County. Earlier this month, officials dedicated the first public cricket pitch at Four Corners Recreation Center, 15700 Old Richmond Road, which is near Sugar Land.
On Saturday, Meyers served as the bowler—cricket’s equivalent of a pitcher—and bowled, or threw, some ceremonial first pitches to George to dedicate the field. Other local political figures got to take some swings as well, including U.S. Rep. Pete Olson, (R-TX), state Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, (R-Brenham), state Rep. John Zerwas, (R-Richmond), Fort Bend Precinct 3 Constable Wayne Thompson, and Fort Bend Precinct 3 Justice of the Peace Kelly Crow.
Despite his affinity for cricket, George said that the parks are meant for other sports as well.
“It’s not just about cricket,” George said. “We want to do everything. You could play soccer, too.”