December 2, 2007

USA

Houston immigrants connect through cricket

Will Luke

Fans and players hailing from Australia, India, Pakistan, South Africa and the West Indies are finding common ground as immigrants in Houston through cricket.

"What the West Indian teams are working on here is more than just cricket — we're trying to leave a legacy of who we are in Houston," said a philosophical Eccles, a senior gas and oil refinery consultant and a Houston West Indies Cricket player on his days off. "We're making our voices heard with our play."

The robust amateur league of weekend warriors will celebrate its 21st championship title match today, weather permitting. The game is to start at 9 a.m. and will include the Memorial Cricket Club, a diverse mix of South Africans, South Asians, Zimbabweans and West Indians. MCC will take on the Houston Cougars Sports Club, a predominantly Pakistani team of doctors, engineers and gas station owners. Many of them graduated from the University of Houston. Hence, the name.

The winner doesn't get a cash prize — just a big trophy and bragging rights that last a year. During the championship match, the players will break for lunch, a time-honored tradition, and will sit down together for a meal that will consist of what has become the universal grub for most of the British commonwealth: Indian food.

"Cricket for me is my childhood passion, it is like a religion in India," said Yogesh Patel, 59, who is the league's current president and who arrived in Houston in the 1970s. "Back home, I would never have gotten the flavor of the Caribbean culture, I would never have gotten a chance to play with South Africans. Here, this is all possible."

Read the full story at the Houston Chronicle.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Will Luke
Assistant editor Will opted against a lifetime of head-bangingly dull administration in the NHS, where he had served for two years. In 2005 came a break at Cricinfo where he slotted right in as a ferociously enthusiastic tea drinker and maker, with a penchant for using "frankly" and "marvellous". He also runs The Corridor, a cricket blog where he can be found ranting and raving about all things - some even involving the sport. He is a great-great nephew of Sir Jack Newman, the former Wellingtonian bowler who took two wickets at 127 apiece for New Zealand.

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