New York’s only Indian-American lawmaker Kevin Thomas wants cricket board established

Rutgers Cricket Club (Courtesy: Facebook)

New York state’s only Indian-American lawmaker, Sen. Kevin Thomas, introduced a bill Feb. 15, to create an “Empire State Cricket Board,” justifying it on the grounds of the multicultural nature of the state and the many people interested in, and playing the game, in parks around the state.

In a tweet he sent out Feb. 22, Sen. Thomas said the goal of the legislation he authored aims to “promote and grow the game of cricket in New York State”

Introduced  by  Sen. Thomas, NY Senate Bill S3807, was read twice and ordered printed and sent to the Committee on Cultural Affairs, Tourism, Parks and Recreation. Once this Committee clears the bill, it will proceed to the Floor Calendar and will have to be passed by both the full state Senate and Assembly. It will then be delivered to the Governor to be signed or vetoed. The timeline on when this bill will become law was not specified in communications with the Senator’s office.

According to the text of the bill, a copy of which was sent to this correspondent by the New York Senator’s office, and which is available on the state Senate site the board shall consist of five members who will  have “experience and expertise” in the game of cricket, which, going by the fact that not many outside of the Indian-American and South Asian American community play cricket in the U.S., will almost certainly include someone of Indian origin.

One of the members of the board will be appointed by the governor; one appointed by the temporary president of the senate; another appointed by the minority leader of the senate; one member appointed by the speaker of the state assembly and the remaining one by the minority leader of the assembly.

The act “shall take effect immediately,” as it is passed, the bill says.

“There is a great deal of support and enthusiasm for the game amongst New Yorkers who seek to expand the game” which goes hand in hand with the internationalism of the state, the Senator says in his “Justification” for the law, adding, “NewYork serves as a cultural hub for many regions of the world, cricket will be yet another addition to that multicultural New York.”

A cursory Web search reveals numerous cricket organizations around New York – the Metropolitan Cricket League, the USA Cricket Umpires Association, Brooklyn Cricket League, the Queens United Cricket Academy, the Eastern American Cricket Association, to name very few, and not including the numerous organizations in New Jersey, Connecticut and neighboring Pennsylvania.

In his “Justification” provided for the bill, Sen. Thomas dives into the history of cricket, a game which was first played in England in the 14th century, and which by the 18th century, became a national phenomenon in that nation.

The first written rules of the game were adopted in 1744, and the first report of a cricket match in North America was in 1751, when the New York Gazette reported a match between teams from London and NewYork City, the Senator outlined in his reasoning.

In 1844, the United States and Canada faced off in a cricket game that was the first international sporting event in the modern world, Sen. Thomas went on to note in his justification.

Cricket has come a long way since the 19th century, Sen. Thomas points out, with people from numerous continents playing the game, from the Caribbean to Europe, Africa and South Asia, with billions following the game on the planet.

“In North America cricket is gaining popularity, thanks to the huge influx of immigrants from these regions,” the Justification notes.

As far back as 2005, then New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg,announced a plan to build a $1.5 million cricket pitch in St. AlbansPark, Queens. “Today, there are parks across New York where cricket is played,” the Senator says as part of his rationale for an Empire State Cricket Board. “New York state takes pride in its diversity, and New York City is the world’s most cosmopolitan city. Both of which makes for an ideal placefor a game such as cricket to thrive,” lawmakers of both parties are told.






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