October 27, 2009

Its just not Kirikiti

Jamie Alter

While the ICC works hard to spread the game to all regions of the world, one aspiring cricket body is having a bit of trouble recruiting players from within its natural auspices. Samoan cricket authorities are keen to recruit kirikiti - an indigenous Pacific Island form of cricket - players for their club infrastructure but have found it tough to coax them, because islanders are worried their traditional sport is endangered.

Seb Kohlhase, the Samoa Cricket president, is reportedly in talks with leading kirikiti players who fear the game, which was introduced by missionaries in the 19th century, will be forced into extinction. "They are so used to kirikiti, so they treated us with apprehension as if we would stop them," he told Radio Australia. "I don't want it to stop.

“But we are sending people tomorrow to Savai'i to hold clinics. They will hold development squads for women and Under-19 players, so that finally their cricket and their talent will be recognised, not just for Upolu (the most populated island) but for the whole country."

Kirikiti, unique to Samoa, includes more players and has different rules than cricket, but the two share distinct similarities: they consist of batting and fielding teams who play on a pitch, the bowling is done from either end by different bowlers, and batsmen look to score off deliveries all around the playing space.

Jamie Alter is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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