Sports legend Sunil Gavaskar on Oct. 15 inaugurated a cricket field in Louisville, Kentucky , making the facility the first outside India to be named after an Indian player. The Sunil Gavaskar Field will serve as the home ground for the Louisville Cricket Club, which is part of the 42- team MidWest Cricket League. The club, along with Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, built a cricket pitch at the Hays Kennedy Park.
“I am delighted and privileged at the honor,” Gavaskar said in a statement. “It’s a unique honor to have a cricket field named after me, especially in a country where cricket is not a premier sport.” The club along organized a dinner for Gavaskar, where Fischer presented him with a key to the city.
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.”
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.”
Although the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has named stands after Gavaskar, this is the first time that an entire field bears his name. The India-Australia Test series has also been named for him as well as Australia’s Allan Border and is known as the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.