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August 10, 2010 > Cricket practice facility for Tri-Cities

Cricket practice facility for Tri-Cities

By Shavon Walker

Union City will soon have one of the rarest kinds of training grounds in the Bay Area - a cricket practice facility. The Planning Commission recommended approval of Mukul Kumar's application for a Use Permit on May 6. The facility will be located in a property formerly occupied by a furniture and mattress outlet which consolidated its business and vacated the premises.

The applicant sought approval for a Use Permit to establish an indoor cricket practice facility in the Special Industrial Zoning District on Whipple Road. According to General Plan and Zoning requirements, the area is designated MS, which allows for a "non-industrial facility with almost no nuisance characteristics" to be established.

Several buildings share the parking site which is not used to its maximum capacity. The applicant is anticipating low parking demand for the facility, given that there will be no tournament play.

The original proposal for five practice lanes was modified to four to meet building and fire codes. Technically, emergency exit plans do not need to be posted but staff recommend it would be prudent to do so. It was also suggested that an illuminated "Exit" sign be installed above the emergency doors to identify their location.

The cricket practice facility will open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. (Monday to Thursday) and from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. (Friday to Sunday). Cricket equipment will also be sold on site. Six people will be able to use the facility at a time; lanes 1 and 2 will accommodate one person each and lanes 3 and 4 will allow two at a time. Up to two employees will be needed for the facility. Maximum occupancy is limited to 30 people; players as young as 8 will be allowed to play.

"I propose to create a safe place where batsman and bowler (pitcher) can practice their batting, run-up and bowling skills, simulated for a proper cricket match," explained Kumar to the Planning Commissioners. "Both will be able to practice in nets (an area protected by netting)."

Batsmen will not be allowed to use the practice area without donning safety equipment - pads (for shins, thighs and chest) and helmets will be compulsory. The bowler is required to wear only an abdomen guard, as per the International Cricket Council's Clothing and Equipment Regulations which do not require a bowler to wear additional protective equipment.

According to Kumar, the batsman's objective is to direct the ball away from, or past, the fielder to score a four (at the boundary) or a six (beyond the boundary) each time the ball is bowled, thus, reducing the danger of injury.

The main playing area will have netting between and in front of each lane to protect spectators and players. The ball will not penetrate the net which will absorb and dissipate the energy from the ball's impact. There will be a double-layer to protect the players between each lane. Padding will also be used to help absorb sound.

Kumar looks forward to offering cricket classes and training. He is a member of the East Bay Cricket Club which plays in Union City and would love to introduce American youngsters to the sport. The facility is being fitted out and scheduled to open at the end of August.

For more information, contact info@cricketstrikezone.com or mukul@cricketstrikezone.com, or visit www.CricketStrikeZone.com.


What is Cricket?

Cricket, a bat-and-ball team sport, originated in England in the 16th century. Its popularity grew and became the national sport by the end of the 18th century. The expansion of the British Empire took cricket around the world and the first international matches were being played by the middle of the 19th century. Today, cricket is the world's second most popular sport with 104 member countries belonging to the International Cricket Council, the game's governing body.

A "cricket match" is played in a "cricket field" with a "pitch" (paler, rectangular strip) in the center. The match is a contest between two teams of 11 players. One "bats" and tries to score as many "runs" and avoid dismissal. Their opponents "bowl" and "field" to dismiss the batsmen and limit their runs. When the batting team has used all its "overs," or has been dismissed, the teams switch roles and the fielding team "goes into bat." Two "umpires" (referees) regulate the game on the field. Two "scorers," one provided by each team, maintain the score as directed by the umpires.

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