May 3, 2023 - Sports

Move over pickleball: Phoenix plans to build new cricket fields

A cricket bat and helmet.

A helmet, bat and stumps from a 2008 cricket match in Mumbai. Photo: Julian Herbert/Getty Images

Ask and you shall receive. That's what the city of Phoenix told a group of cricket aficionados who've spent the past few months lobbying for better playing facilities.

What's happening: Phoenix city manager Jeff Barton has added $250,000 to his recommended budget for up to three cricket fields.

  • The city will also consider expanding cricket to more sites, according to a staff report.

Zoom out: Cricket, a bat-and-ball game with English roots and a massive south Asian following, is seeing a surge in popularity across the country at both the amateur and professional levels.

  • The Arizona Cricket Association boasts more than a dozen teams and plays at 11 parks statewide — most of which are in Chandler, according to the group's website.
  • A Glendale developer announced plans to open a 20,000-seat cricket stadium in Buckeye last year.
  • Additionally, the first Major League Cricket circuit in the U.S. will debut this summer.

What they're saying: "This will really help us play the sport properly and also help us with youth development for the sport," Arizona Cricket Association's Hassan Rafi told the council Tuesday.

  • He said he hopes someday there will be dedicated cricket facilities like the ones the city maintains for baseball and soccer.

Between the lines: Barton added a handful of other resident recommendations to the proposed $1.9 billion general fund budget, including:

  • $125,000 for park maintenance
  • $250,000 to support affordable child care and early education
  • $100,000 for a dedicated bike lane street sweeper

What's next: The City Council will take its first vote on the budget May 16 and will give final approval on June 14.


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