Cricket, Anyone?

The British sport has a long history in Honolulu.

Players gather on “The Pitch” during a friendly match at Kapiolani Park.

Photos: Miles O’Sullivan

They gather at Kapiolani Park almost every Sunday, with bats, gloves and balls. Not to play baseball. These athletes come together for a friendly match of cricket, a sport that enjoys a lengthy and rich history here. Cricket originated in southern England, becoming that country’s national sport by the late 1700s—a sport the British took with them around the world.

“The Honolulu Cricket Club has been around since 1892,” says club president Mark Berwick. “And the game actually dates back even further here, to the 1830s and ’40s. In fact, one of the founders of cricket here was Alexander Liholiho, better known as King Kamehameha IV.”

In addition to its history, the Honolulu Cricket Club prides itself on its cultural diversity. It’s a United Nations of players.

“That’s one of the things that drew me to the club,” says Berwick. “We have players from India, Pakistan, Australia, New Zealand, England and the United States, and they’re all fabulous people.”

Over the past two years, the Honolulu Cricket Club has traveled to Canada and New Zealand. This year, club members will stamp their passports in India, where cricket is the national game.

Batter up! Aditya Singh plays with the Honolulu Cricket Club.

For University of Hawaii grad student Aditya Singh, the trip represents an opportunity to reconnect with his childhood. He grew up in India, where cricket is much more than a game: It’s a way of life.

“As children we played street cricket almost every night,” says Singh. “We would call out the names of all the children and bring them out of the house and play for hours. So to return home to once again play the game I love, this is fantastic.”

For Singh, and the entire Honolulu Cricket Club, this journey will take on an even greater meaning, because the actual competition will be secondary.

“We’re going to provide some much-needed outreach,” says Berwick. “We’ll be traveling to impoverished areas and providing cricket kits and educational tools. So it’s really more about spreading some aloha. And when we go, we’re not just a team from the United States, we travel as the Hawaii national team.”

Interested in joining? “If you have any experience playing baseball then you already have many of the skills you need,” says Berwick. “You bat, you field and you bowl, which is what we call pitching.”

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