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Dardenne Prairie team wins national youth cricket championship

Members of the American Cricket Academy and Club – St. Louis minor team [Photo courtesy of Ajay Jhamb

With their home playing field [called a cricket pitch] located in Dardenne Prairie’s Barathaven Park, the American Cricket Academy and Club – St. Louis [ACAC] hosted the fourth National Minor [Youth] Cricket League tournament over the Labor Day weekend.

Twenty-two teams traveled to St. Charles County from all over the country to participate, including those from Dallas, Houston, Chicago, Cleveland, Columbus, California, Nashville, Austin, Denver and Canada.  Tournament matches were held at Barathaven Park and ACAC Park.

The Dardenne Prairie ACAC minor team, coached by Ajay Jhamb and Raj Anbalagan with manager Ganesh Krishnamurthy, won the championship. Pooja Ganesh is the team captain, and Adnit Jhamb was the tournament MVP.  The youth team also has won championships in Atlanta and California.

Cricket is a ball and bat sport, where a batter hits a ball and scores runs, and there are innings. It was played in the American colonies long before Abner Doubleday invented baseball. In fact, it dates back to the mid-1500s and was spread around the world by the old British Empire. In it, two teams of 11 players each compete to score the most runs.

The field is grass, with a flat rectangular strip in the middle, called the pitch, roughly 10 feet wide and 60 feet long. The bowler [pitcher] throws the ball to the striker or batsman [batter] down the pitch, which also is referred to as a wicket. During the course of a cricket match, the wicket’s shorter grass sometimes gets worn down or muddy, making it challenging for the bowler to pitch and bounce the ball accurately and for the striker to hit it. From that comes the term “sticky wicket,” or difficult situation.

In 2016, Ajay, who is the Academy’s founder and executive director, found a home for his cricket club when Dardennne Prairie Mayor David Zucker and the city’s Board of Aldermen provided $26,887.35 to construct a cricket pitch in Barathaven Park. Over the following year, that investment was paid back by the club and its donors.

Ajay said the team will continue to practice until Oct. 31 at Barathaven Park; then, will travel to Houston for Thanksgiving weekend to play in another tournament.

“The American Cricket Academy and Club – St. Louis now is considered one the best places for youth cricket in the country,”

Related Content: Cricket grows in Dardenne Prairie

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