Snow cricket gets a spin at Regina's Waskimo Winter Festival

Prakhar Shrivastava grew up playing cricket on the warm and muggy streets of India, but on Monday, he’ll be playing cricket in the snow at Waskimo Winter Festival in Regina.

Cavaliers Sport and Social Club brings back cricket for second year to event

Last year's Waskimo Winter Festival featured people learning to play cricket, and the Cavaliers Sports and Social Club will be bringing the game back to this year's Family Day event on Monday. (Submitted photo)

Prakhar Shrivastava grew up playing cricket on the warm and muggy streets of India, but on Monday, he'll be playing cricket in the snow at Waskimo Winter Festival in Regina.

People will have their chance to try out the international sport for the second year in a row at the winter festival.

Shrivastava said when organizers first approached the club to play the game at last year's event, he was a bit skeptical, to say the least.

"I thought they must be out of their mind," he told Saskatchewan Weekend host Shauna Powers, with a chuckle.

However, he said he and the other members of Regina's Cavaliers Sport and Social Club were up for the challenge, having never played on the snow before.

It was definitely not the club's most serious game, with people bundled up, moving more slowly and taking a few more spills than usual. But the event was open to everyone, including the club's families and other spectators, and many people walking by seemed to take an interest, said Shrivastava.

Newcomers to the sport may treat cricket like baseball at first, but quickly learn that holding the bat and hitting the ball is completely different in cricket, according to Cavaliers' member Prakhar Shrivastava. (Submitted photo)

"Last year we had the kids lining up just to try it out, and even the parents lining up. It's definitely fun to have something like that."

Newcomers join the sport expecting it to be like baseball, but quickly find cricket is different animal, with its own movements. The youngest kids would miss the ball a few times before finally connecting with it, and the joy in their face when they finally managed to make a hit was "just phenomenal to see," said Shrivastava.

Most of Regina's cricket players hadn't played in the snow before last year's Family Day event at Waskimo, but took on the challenge, and will be bringing it back for people to try at this year's event.

Shrivastava said when he moved to Canada 15 years ago as a teenager, there were only 30 people getting together to play the sport. But more immigrant growth in the province has seen an explosion of interest, with a growth in up to 500 members, with junior cricketers and a woman's league getting off the ground.

The sport is still primarily an immigrant sport in Saskatchewan, said Shrivastava, but he hopes the exposure at the Winter Festival will help plant the seed among others.

Be patient and give it a fair shot.- Prakhar Shrivastava, cricketer

Cricketers are keen to get new people involved in their games, and the summer months will often see people batting and bowling in parks and cricket grounds in Regina.

"If you just show up to them and ask them can I try the sport or try to bat a ball, they'd love to help you and teach you," said Shrivastava, who encourages newcomers to the sport not to get discouraged if it isn't as simple as picking up the bat and knocking the ball out of the park.

"Be patient and give it a fair shot."

With files from Saskatchewan Weekend