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Mankato Hosts Largest Cricket Tournament In Midwest
April 11, 2009 at 8:36pm

When you here someone talking about stumps and crickets you might think they are talking about a trip into the woods.News 12's Erick Lind says you might want to listen closer because if they start talking about wickets, they are probably talking about one of the globes most popular sports.(Crack from bat hitting ball)It may not be America's pastime, but cricket is a very popular sport around the world.This weekend some enthusiasts are bringing their game to MSU.Tournament organizer Irfan Bangash says, "We've been hosting the tournament for the last six years, but it has never been this big."The most they've ever had is eight teams, and all from Minnesota.This year it has stretched to five Midwest states, seeing 14 teams from Iowa, Wisconsin, and the Dakotas also involved.Bangladesh Royals player Oz Khan says, "It's to increase awareness that cricket exists in Minnesota and of course to just have some fun."Erick Lind says, "The popularity of the sport has grown the tournament at MSU by leaps and bounds, but players think with the right connection, it can be even larger in the future."Bangash adds, "In order to have it more popular we have to introduce it in high schools. I've loved cricket from my childhood."While children in the U.S. may have posters of Joe Mauer or LeBron James on their bedroom walls, it's a different story for some of these players.Bangash says, "If you come over to my house we have posters of the retired cricketers from India, from Pakistan, from England. I grew up watching them."They are playing in Myers Field House and outside behind Gage Towers, so while the game has some similarities to baseball, just like the Twins, these guys can't wait to play outside.Khan adds, "If you asked me personally I would say I would prefer outside, but inside is great too, as long as we are playing."Inside or out, they are working to crown a champion, but more importantly open up the sport to others.
 
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