Night cricket is seen played at the Lauderhill Stadium in Florida. Photo by Shiek Mohamed

Washington Cricket League
By Anurag Bhai
The president announced last week that Washington Cricket League will be conducting a night cricket tournament. This is a wonderful step for cricket in the DC area. It shows that there is tremendous growth in cricket and we will continue to see further growth in the future.

Congratulations to the WCL Executives for taking this step and for providing players additional playing opportunities.

Pink ball will be used.

The format that the league is envisioning is that there will be eight teams in the competition that will last approximately 12 weeks. The games will be played Saturday and Sunday evenings, starting at approximately 7 pm until 10:15 pm. This means, that one innings would be played during daylight and the other under the lights. The league is planning on using a pink ball for this competition.

Since there is only one ground with lights, logic suggests that each team will get to play every other week. It will be interesting to see how teams plan around this. For example, if a team has a Saturday night game, and then next day they have a morning game in the regular league, it could make for some tired players.

Like everything else, this new endeavor will have pros and cons. Let’s talk about the pros first.

1. Provides players/teams an opportunity for additional cricket. There is a group of players in our league that want more cricket. This tournament is perfect for all those players to quench their thirst for more playing opportunities.

2. Teams/players can utilize this time for real games, instead of going to practice. There is a great opportunity for teams to have additional games to hone their skills for the league phase.

3. More socializing opportunities for players/teams. Many players socialize with each other on weekends. This allows these players to hang-out and play together

4. Young, single guys will relish this opportunity. With no restrictions or obligations, these guys can enjoy a Saturday or Sunday night on the cricket field.

5. Opportunity to try cricket under the lights. Everyone likes new things, and in the beginning, this novelty will attract players to the field.

Now let’s look at the cons.
1. Most married guys – especially those with children – will probably not play. If I was to guess, our league probably has 60% – 70% married players, and out of that, 75% probably have children. I can’t imagine these players going out on a Saturday night (would have to leave home around 5:45 pm for a 7 pm game) and coming home around 11:30 pm and then getting up the next morning and going out to play again. Or, playing on Saturday during the day and then going out, again, on Sunday evening to play.

2. Those who live in Maryland will be less inclined to play in this league, especially Sunday evening games, as by the time they get home, it will be around midnight.

3. The level of interest might wane, as the tournament progresses, due to too much cricket happening every weekend. There is a saying – too much of anything is bad. This won’t apply to all players, but some might feel the fatigue of too much cricket.

4. Too much cricket creates a risk of injury. There is a wear on the body, when you’re out on the field too much.

5. The timing of the tournament. The league plans to hold this competition April through mid-June, when nights are cool/chilly and most people would much prefer to play during the day, under natural light and pleasant temperatures. Had the tournament been in June, July, August, night cricket would have been the perfect escape from the hot days. To be fair to the Executives, they had little choice in the matter. The permit is only valid from April – mid-June so they can’t be faulted for the timing.

6. A big issue that the league and teams will have to deal with in night cricket is finding the ball in the dark. At Veterans when you hit the ball straight it goes into the bushes. There will be no light there and it will require some effort to find the ball. Remember, the lights are focused on the field, and not off it. Umpires and teams will need to account for that.

7. Teams will need to adjust back-and-forth between the white ball and the pink ball for day and night competition. Hopefully, this will not be a minor adjustment.

So guys, get ready for night cricket, and have fun.

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