New York Police uses cricket to bond with communities

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New York, June 29 (ANI): The New York Police Department has chosen cricket as a way to foster relationships with newer immigrant communities.

The Police Department established a cricket competition for young men in the city last summer. The project was a success, and on Tuesday, play began for another season, reports the New York Times.

Interest has expanded, with 10 teams and 170 players involved this year, compared with six teams last year.

Matches are played at the Gateway Cricket Ground in Brooklyn, a grass oval tucked in by the Belt Parkway, in the shadows of the towers of Starrett City and beneath the flight path of Kennedy International Airport. This (New York) is the most diverse city in the world," said Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly.

"We don't have uniform relationships with all communities. This (cricket) opens the door, allows us to interact with them on the sport field," he added.

The police have long organized athletic programs as a way to keep teenagers out of mischief, especially in the summer, when schools are closed, days are long and it is easy to get into trouble.

Last year, a soccer competition aimed at immigrants in the city was popular with Eastern Europeans and some Latinos, but the police believed they needed to make inroads with other groups.

So, the police decided to experiment with cricket, a game with a huge following across the Caribbean and South Asia. The response has cut across community lines.

Tuesday's opening match pitted the SuperStars - made up largely of players from Guyana - against the KnightRiders, a predominantly Pakistani team.

It remains to be seen if the Police Department is able to nurture cricket talent in the way that other law enforcement agencies have. (ANI)

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