Cricket has become increasingly popular in Mississauga. It is a sport with billions of supporters and is played all over the world. It is a fan favourite among many diverse communities, including those in the South Asian, Caribbean and Black communities and has become popular among a wide range of ages.
Cricket takes place between two teams of eleven players each. It is a bat-and-ball game played on a grass field, with a flat strip of ground called a pitch. At each end of the pitch is a set of wooden stumps, called a wicket. Each team takes turns batting and playing the field, just like in baseball. A bowler, pitches a cork-filled, leather ball and the batter tries to hit the ball to score runs. The bowler is trying to make the batter miss the ball and hit the wickets to record outs. There are three different types of formats of the game: Five-day test matches, One-Day International cricket and Twenty20 International cricket.
Cricket is a passion-fuelled sport. One of the most appealing things about the sport is its accessibility—anyone, at any age or skill level can participate.
Many Mississauga residents enjoy playing and watching cricket. You can find people ready with their bats, balls and wickets ready to start up an impromptu game at many of the city’s cricket pitches.
Batter up – where to play in Mississauga
The sport has been bolstered by the availability of cricket pitches from Cawthra Park to Malton. The City currently has nine cricket pitches with plans to develop more locations in the future.
“Cricket has picked up over past last few years and the demand for pitches in neighbourhoods is on the rise. Our current cricket pitches are well-utilised by the residents and community groups. We know there is a desire from the community to see the City add more pitches. It’s one of the things we’re looking at through our long-term recreational planning and in collaboration with community cricket groups,” says Kristina Zietsma, Director of Recreation and Culture with the City of Mississauga.
Cricket’s international following
Cricket is one of the fastest-growing sports across Peel Region. Earlier this year, a newly formed professional cricket team chose Mississauga to be their home. The Mississauga Panthers’ 16-member team is one of six to make up the North America’s first cricket league. The Panthers made their debut at the GT20 tournament this summer. One of their star up-and-coming players is Azam Khan, a powerful and promising batsman and keeper born in Pakistan.
Khan, 25, grew up in Pakistan playing the sport under the watchful eye of his father, former international cricketer Moin Khan. “I remember my Dad, playing in the Sahara Cup back in ’95 and ’99. Since then, cricket has picked up a lot in popularity in bigger cities like Mississauga,” said Khan.
Khan was drafted to the Mississauga Panthers earlier this year by Hassan Mirza, the CEO of the Panthers. Mirza has been working hard to strengthen cricket’s foothold in the city.
“A collaborative effort is needed from cities, individuals and corporations in order to grow cricket infrastructure in Mississauga,” says Mirza. “It’s important to identify suitable locations for new fields, form partnerships, seek funding and grants, develop training programs, and really engage the community along with learning from successful examples in other countries.”
So whether you’re picking up a bat for the first time, cheering on the Mississauga Panthers, watching a game at one of our pitches or learning more about the sport, Mississauga is well-positioned to welcome a whole new generation of all-rounders.