What game has 24 players, two batters and can last up to nine days?
That would be Cricket. Soon Howard County enthusiasts will have a regulation field to play a game often touted as the second most popular in the world.
Taking heed of the international population in Howard County, the Department of Parks and Recreation will be renovating the Schooley Mill Park in Highland to regulation cricket field standards.
“During the last few years, we observed a demonstrated need among our diverse population in Howard County and the surrounding area to incorporate the No. 2 international sport into our County’s Recreation and Parks programs,” County Executive Ken Ulman said in a statement. “So we looked for options.”
The Schooley Mill Park was already in need of maintenance, Ulman said, and an upgrade to a regulation cricket field could be done without losing any amenities or acquiring any additional property. It involves the construction of a cricket pitch, regrading the existing fields to create a 350-foot long oval-shaped field and updating some of the existing features, including the sidewalks and drainage systems.
Somewhat like baseball, cricket is played with two teams of 11 players and two umpires. Batters hit a ball and attempt runs while the fielding team has a variety of ways to try put out opposing players. Watch the above video for a detailed and easy to follow cricket primer.
Ulman and man others tout it as the second most popular sport in the world next to soccer, but according to the Economist, that’s only when India, with its 1.2 billion residents, makes the World Cup final.
The game might warrant at least one superlative, however – longest professional sporting event. A 1939 contest between England and South Africa lasted nine days according to CNN.
The 12 teams in the Howard County Cricket League will have to wait until later this year if they want to beat that record on a regulation field. They’ve been playing on non-regulation fields in Meadowbrook Park this season, but registration for the spring 2013 season opens in November (register online).
The new field is expected to be completed later this year.
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