There is no Market Research Poll Currently Running.
Ankur Shahi wanted to bring something unique to Thunder Bay, so he decided to introduce the city to the sport of cricket.
The 16-year-old Sir Winston Churchill Collegiate and Vocational Institute student has played cricket since he was five years old. When he and his family lived in India, he says he would play all the time. When they moved to Toronto, he realized not many Canadians played the sport.
He found that even fewer people knew about the sport in Thunder Bay, where he later moved to.
Shahi eventually joined the Lakehead University cricket club, but wanted to do more to ensure the sport had some more recognition in the city.
That’s where the idea for the first ever Lakehead Youth Cricket Camp came from.
“We’re trying to bring the sport of cricket into the community and introduce it to little children because they don’t have an opportunity to play otherwise,” Ankur says.
“We’ve all heard about soccer and basketball camps, however there’s never been a cricket camp. Children get to experience something new and we get to bring our game into the community.”
Story continues after video ...
Around 12 participants attended the first practice of the camp.
Ankur was able to secure a grant to turn a portion of the River Terrace Park into a proper cricket field.
That meant painting the lines, creating the pitch and filling in some uneven terrain.
But the work paid off as children of all ages played the game for the first time.
Ankur admits that it can be a bit difficult to teach newcomers how to play one of the world’s most popular sports. But once the player gets into it, he said it becomes as easy as playing baseball.
There’s no pitcher in cricket. Instead the sport features a bowler, who like a pitcher in baseball or softball is trying to get the batsmen out.
That batsmen is Runs are scored when the batsmen hits the ball and successfully runs from one end of the pitch to the other before the opposing fielders return the ball.
Cricket is also well known for having long matches, but Ankur says his camp wouldn’t be going any longer than a few hours with possibly a few skirmishes by the end of the summer.
“There are different formats to cricket so we try to keep it as short as possible so one of our games may last 10 to 20 minutes,” he says.
“We’ve shortened the format so everyone gets a turn.”
If there’s enough interest developed in the game, Ankur says he wants to eventually start little leagues and have games throughout the city.
Brad Beecken, who goes to Hammarskjold High School, heard about the camp and decided he would give it a try.
The 15-year-old never played cricket before but he said he wanted to try something new.
“It’s a really fun sport,” Brad says.
“The most challenge part so far is when you throw the ball they have to hit it and I always seem to throw it at them. I do play a lot of sports like football, soccer and track. I think this is a really good idea just to get more people interested in the sport.”
Ankur’s father, Chandler Shahi, says he’s proud that his son is brought a sport he loves so much into the community.
“I think the game of cricket is going to pick up very soon in Thunder Bay,” Shahi says. “It’s very important for the kids to get involved in all these activities. I feel this keeps them away from other bad activities. This way they can not only get some good sports practice but also learn how to live with other people and coordinate with other people. That’s very important too.”
All of the equipment at the camp from the bats to the balls and helmets are the Shahi family’s own personal equipment. Shahi says they had a lot of equipment but not a lot of people playing so it only made sense to share what they had.
The camp runs from July 9 to Aug. 24 and runs for a week.
Registration is $50 and the group plays every day from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. The camps are available for ages 8 to 11 and 12 to 15.
For more information visit the camp’s website.
Click here to report a typo or error
You must log in to add comments.
Create a new account
Remember me next time.