New York police launch Twenty20 cricket league

August 2nd, 2008 - 10:10 pm ICT by IANS  

New York, Aug 2 (IANS) The New York Police Department (NYPD) has launched a citywide youth cricket league with six teams participating in an effort to establish a positive relationship with the city’s multiple ethnic groups. The nearly 100 players - most of Muslim descent and of Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Guyanese Indian origin, will play twice weekly until August end in the Twenty20 Cricket Cup at Brooklyn’s Gateway Cricket Ground.

The NYPD is providing the cricket gear to the teenage players, who come from all five city boroughs.

Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, who officiated at the coin toss for the first match Wednesday, said: “New York today is home field for new immigrant and American-born players alike, many of whom excel at sports that local leagues don’t traditionally offer. With our help, young enthusiasts from Bangladesh to Brooklyn now can expect to play them here.”

A police department media release also quoted him as saying, “The NYPD has long provided programmes for youth while promoting positive police-community relations. Our Twenty20 Cricket Cup combines the best of both worlds, so to speak.”

The Twenty20 Cricket Cup is the NYPD’s second part of its New Immigrant Outreach initiative that tries to bridge gaps between the city’s ethnic groups. A soccer league was the first to be set up under the programme in May.

“This sport is a part of me, of my culture, and it feels great to play it here, in the city,” Pakistan-born Umar Hayat, 17, a Lincoln High School student, was quoted as saying by a local paper.

“Finally, we get some recognition, and a place to play,” said Azurdeen Mohammed, 17, a Guyanese graduate from Forest Hills High School.

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