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Winkler cricket club ready to bring the game

Lauren MacGill

WINKLER - 

Residents got a chance to watch a few cricket matches and get acquainted with the game on Saturday.
The Winkler Cricket Club hosted the city’s first cricket festival at Winkler Arena on April 29. Four teams played in the tournament, three of them local.
“Cricket is an art,” president of the Winkler Cricket Club Zahid Zehri said. “What I usually say, it’s a bit of a joke, cricket is the refined form of baseball.”
Winkler Mayor Martin Harder stopped by to watch a match and have some samosas. “We’re glad they’re taking the initiative to do this and we’re happy to help them get their pitch together,” he said. “It’s another venue, another opportunity, something else to do in Winkler and draw people. I’m excited about it, it looks like a fun game. The neat thing is you have another culture introducing something that we would otherwise not have, so it’s much appreciated.”
The Winkler Cricket Club will be getting their own pitch later this year by Northlands Parkway Collegiate. “I’m very excited,” Zehri said. “There are no words to express my feelings. Once you have a home pitch it makes a huge difference in the performance of the team. The ground is not only going to be beneficial for the team, but also good for the city.”
There are about 23 teams in the province. “More teams are being registered,” Zehri said. “Cricket is growing.”
Though the sport is intricate and has many rules, the tournament offered a lesson on the basics. Cricket is played on a long rectangular pitch in the middle of the field. On either end there are wickets, which are made up of three stumps (poles) that balance two bails on top.
The batting team has two batters (or batsmen) in play at a time. The fielding team will bowl to them and try to minimize the amount of runs they score. The batter can score either by running the length of the pitch (one length is one run) or hitting the ball past the outer limit of the field. Being struck “out” deducts points. The winning team is the one with the most points after both teams have batted.
Batters can get “out” ten different ways. If the batter hits the ball and a fielder catches it on the fly (just like in baseball), they are out. Batters can also be bowled out, when the ball is thrown or deflected by the batter into the stumps and knocks the bails down. They are also out if they are hit in the leg by the ball, or if a fielder gets the ball back to the wicket before the batter.
The Winkler Cricket Club has been playing for two years, and last year they came in third in the regional T20 tournament held by the Manitoba Cricket Association. They play their first game on May 14.