By Staff Report Hillsborough County Parks and Recreation Department is adding to the recreational opportunities in the county with the opening of its first designated cricket fields, located at Evans Park, 1104 N. Kingsway Rd. in Seffner. A ribbon cutting is scheduled for Saturday, July 18 at 10 a.m. followed by a demonstration cricket game.
The newly renovated park boasts three cricket fields that meet professional cricket standards and are designed to accommodate tournaments. Important to the design are the pitches. Without a proper pitch, players can sustain injuries. Other features include two lighted batting cages, covered bleachers, lighting for night games, and an LED scoreboard.
The need for designated cricket fields stems from an increase in people from cricket-playing nations moving to the Tampa Bay area for work and business, according to the president of the Tampa Bay Cricket League. Cricket, which originated in England, is played in 75 countries. The sport is played with a ball and bat.
The Tampa Bay Cricket League was formed in 2007. The league began playing at Evans Park in 2012, and has since grown to 20 teams with more than 340 players. With the growth in the league and need for proper playing fields, players reached out to the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners, who have funded the $630,000 state-of-the-art facility. With all its amenities, perhaps the crowning jewel of the new cricket fields is one of the largest grand oak trees in Hillsborough County, which was carefully preserved with the field design.
Jayan Sanghani has been playing Cricket for a long time and was very instrumental in working with Commissioner Al Higginbotham, who championed the construction of the cricket fields at Evans Park. Sanghani has shared his passion for the sport with his son, Shivam, who has been playing for eight years since the age of 9. Sanghani is custodian for the fields and is there every week making sure all is in order.
“It is a great place where everyone can come and play the sport of cricket. I have been involved since day one,” he said.
The league has two seasons a year, with teams playing competitive cricket most weekends. Individuals interested in playing or would like more information can visit www.tampacricketleague.com or call Sanghani at 679-1588.