Cricket? In Canada?

Graphic by Carleen Loney

Cricket may initially look complex, but do not worry, it is not. The soon-to-be Olympic sport is even growing in Canada.

Despite being heavily popular in other Commonwealth countries, cricket is relatively unknown in Canada. But this may be about to change.

What is cricket?

The sport is played between two teams of 11 players on a large oval grass field. In the middle, two “wickets,” consisting of three vertical posts on which bails rest, are placed 22 yards apart. Depending on the match format, each team has one or two innings or chances to bat. An innings ends if 10 of 11 batsmen are out or, in specific formats, if a certain number of “bowls,” or throws, has been reached. The winner is the team with the most runs after completing all innings.

The batting team has two batsmen on the field, one at each wicket. They can score runs by hitting the ball directly outside the boundary for six runs. If the ball bounces before reaching the boundary, it counts for four runs. If both batsmen safely run across to the other “crease” where the wickets are, for one run. The batsmen may also run back and forth between the creases to get more runs.

The fielding team has all 11 players on the field. They aim to get the batsmen out. The “bowler” gets the batsman out if he throws the ball and hits the wicket. If the batsman prevents the ball from hitting the wicket by blocking it with their legs, they are out. A ball hit, then directly caught, also counts as an out. Batsmen can also be “run out” or “stumped” if a player throws the ball onto the wicket and the batsman is out of the crease.

Important times ahead

Concordia alumnus Mudasser Akbar, MEng ’17, is the CEO of the Montreal Tigers, the city’s professional cricket team. They are the reigning GT20 Canada champions. Entirely played in Brampton, Ontario, the league had attendance figures reaching 5,000 people per game. Unfortunately, the reality in Montreal is not the same. Akbar explained how no cricket ground in the city has lights to allow people to play in the evening.

However, Akbar is optimistic about the sport’s future in Canada. “It is a growing sport [in Canada],” he said. The national team has qualified for the 2024 T20 World Cup for the first time. There, Canada will play some of the best nations in the world. He thinks playing against these countries can help grow the sport. 

More importantly, cricket will be an Olympic sport starting at the Los Angeles 2028 Games. “I am super happy and excited,” Akbar said. He explained that such an event will bring massive attention to the sport. “Imagine a Canadian cricket team representing [the country] at Los Angeles. That would be amazing.”


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