FORSYTH COUNTY -- Cricket is one of the world’s most popular sports, and one local group wants to teach the game to Forsyth County youth.
During a meeting on Wednesday, the Forsyth County Parks and Recreation Board approved 4-0, with member Todd Holbrook absent, a proposal to move forward with plans to bring youth cricket to county parks this fall.
The board heard a presentation from members of the Atlanta Youth Cricket League and Vive Cricket, who want to first teach the game before establishing a league.
“Our objective is to grow the game with elementary school kids primarily and some middle school kids,” Nishant Gupta said. “Our objective for this season is to get kids together, teach them the game, have them learn the game and try to have some fun.”
Gupta said if successful, he is hopeful a league with multiple teams could be established next year.
To move forward, a cricket booster club must be formed and available field space needs to be determined.
Games will likely be played at Sawnee Mountain Park on one weekday and Sunday mornings.
Gupta the game is the second most popular in the world – behind soccer – and is rapidly growing in the U.S.
“There are significant investments made by the International Cricket Council … to make cricket one of the fastest-growing sports in the United States when it comes to youth cricket and under-17 and national cricket,” he said.
When asked if there was interest among his students, Gupta’s son, Sidd, said many of his friends were interested.
“As of now, I think we could probably get 13-15 kids based on my social circle,” Sidd Gupta, who is involved with South Forsyth Middle School’s cricket club. “We have fliers made and signup sheets so we can get across to all the members of the school, all the students.”
He said he had even discussed with school administrators about getting teachers involved and with other schools expanding the game.
Wayne Maddox, athletic manager for the county’s parks, said Sidd Gupta was the person who initially contacted him about adding the fields.
“I got an email from him asking about getting field space to do this,” Maddox said. “I said, ‘That’s great, but I need an adult to enter into an agreement with,’ and that’s how these other guys got involved.”