The Louisville Cricket Club, part of the 42-team MidWest Cricket Tournament, has teamed up with Mayor Greg Fischer’s office to create a new playing facility at Hays Kennedy Park.
The facility is being named for Sunil M. Gavaskar, a legend in the sport who is known as “the Muhammad Ali of world cricket.” Gavaskar will be in Louisville for the fields’ grand opening at 10 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 15.
Mayor Fischer said he expects the city’s $150,000 investment in the fields will reap great rewards.
“We are an increasingly global community, and cricket is already part of our city’s sporting landscape,” he said. “We hope the investment at Hays Kennedy Park will open the sport to more local participation, and the city to even more global opportunities.”
The facility at Hays Kennedy will be the first outside India to be named after an Indian player. In an interview with the Times of India before his visit to Louisville, Gavaskar, who represented India in international matches for more than 16 years before retiring in 1987, said: “It’s a wonderful honor to have a ground named after you, especially in a country where cricket is not the premier sport.”
The Louisville Cricket Club has produced a quick guide to the sport, which is one of the most popular sports in the world but is relatively unknown by many Americans. You can view the guide here.
Metro Parks and Recreation director Seve Ghose said the long-term goal is for Louisville to become a destination for national and even international cricket competitions, with plans to eventually build a pavilion and practice facilities.
Ten percent of the funding to create the new fields was raised by Louisville Cricket Club’s 50 active playing members.
“We are very grateful to Mayor Fischer and Seve Ghose, for their support,” said Jai Bokey, president of the Louisville Cricket Club.
“This is about much more than just creating a purpose-built space for Louisville Cricket Club to play,” he added. “Cricket is an important part of culture and community life in places like England, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, and throughout the West Indies. Having such a superb facility will help to bring people and business to Louisville from all over the cricket-playing world.”