Cricket Zeal Academy Dedicates Field to Youth

By Cricket Zeal Academy

It is not an unusual sight to see grown-ups in whites playing games of cricket on grounds across the Bay Area. Cricket is a highly popular sport in a number of places, such as the UK and the Indian Subcontinent, from where a large percentage of Silicon Valley’s tech workers hail.

On April 19 however saw the emergence of something new: a cricket academy dedicated to tiny tots.

What brought these children to the Thornton grounds was a new initiative — to establish a cricket academy for children. The Cricket Zeal Academy, has a full time residential Level 3 Cricket Australia certified coach, and its goal is to promote Cricket across Bay Area. As part of the agreement with the City of Fremont, the Academy is offering “Introduction to Cricket” program from Ages 5 – 12 open to all across Fremont and it is available on Fremont city’s Parks and Recreation website itself. Besides, with the help of Fremont Unified School District Physical Education teachers, Cricket Zeal Academy has launched a new program, “Introduction to Cricket during PE” in schools.

The establishment of such an academy is without doubt a work of great passion. Parent volunteers canvassed support across communities in the Tri-Valley area, going school to school to meet Principals and PT instructors. They found a great supporter in Stan Hicks, Principal of Thornton Jr. High. According to Dr. Vana Boorada, President of Cricket Zeal Academy, “Mr. Hicks has been a pillar of strength and inspiration in ensuring the academy gets a proper cricket ground. He stood behind the academy, which is striving very hard for the growth of the game among the youth community, and the sport of cricket in a very big way.” Mr. Hicks, in turn, was enthusiastic in his support. “It is very good to see a large gathering and the festive atmosphere here today,” he said, adding, “Cricket as a team sport is going to foster our students and bring the community together.”

Photo above: Thornton Jr. High School Principal, Stan Hicks with Akhtar Masood Chik Syed, USACA Board Member.

The Cricket Zeal Academy has thus far attracted more than 100 children from across the South Bay and the plan is to spread. For expat parents, this is a godsend, an opportunity to help their children connect to their own cultural roots and memes.

The inauguration ceremony of the Cricket Zeal academy in Fremont on April 19, saw a number of celebrities attend. One of them was former President of the USA Cricket Association, and a Cricket Hall of fame inductee, Syed Akhtar Masood, who flew in to the town on Sunday April 19, 2015 to inaugurate the first dedicated Cricket Field for youth cricketers. He said, “Today, my heart is brimming with pride to see such a diverse, large group of young players.” Another key attendee was Jay Vijayan, Chief Information Officer (CIO) of TESLA Motors. An avid fan of the game himself, Mr. Vijayan, said, “This is a great development for the community and to the sport. I am happy and proud to be here to support Cricket Zeal’s endeavor to grow the sport at this grass root levels.”

The Cricket Zeal Academy’s new facility also garnered support from the larger Cricketing Community across Bay area. Cricbay, the largest Cricket League in the entire country, with 96 teams, was represented by its key volunteers, Dr. Thomas and Mr. Mallya. “We are happy to share this moment and contribute our best to the future of Cricket” said Dr. Thomas, while his colleague, Mallya stated: “Cricbay has been organizing games for adults for more than 8 years now and we are happy to contribute to Cricket Zeal Academy’s endeavor to take the game to the youth.” With this amount of passion and grass roots uptake, it will surprise no one if the US were to surprise a few of the bigger teams in a Cricket World Cup in the not so distant future.

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