Even though cricket is the second most popular in the world – only behind soccer – there’s a good chance it may be new to you. But that may soon change, thanks to a Houston businessman who’s hoping to change the way we think about the sport.
Andy Uhler is a Texas-based reporter for American Public Media’s Marketplace. He tells Texas Standard he met this story first piqued his interest on a drive from Houston to Austin. “It’s a pretty straight, flat, unimpressionable commute,” he says. “But the last time I made the drive I was struck by a couple of massive billboards on the right-hand side of the road, about an hour west of Houston, in a town of about 6,000 people called Prairie View.”
“One of the billboards says: ‘84 acres … 14 cricket fields … international standards.’ The other: ‘Largest cricket complex in the U.S.A.,’” Uhler continues. “Why Prairie View,” he wondered, “a small college town in the middle of east Texas?”
Uhler was ultimately able to pose that question to Tanweer Ahmed, the businessman behind the billboards and the massive cricket complex – currently under construction – that they advertise. Uhler says Ahmed is confident in the success of cricket in Texas.
“He pointed to the growth of the south Asian population in the Houston area,” Uhler says. “And he’s right … that population is booming. Between 2000 to 2012, the Pakistani immigrant populations in greater Houston grew by almost 75 percent. The Indian population? 87 percent. And many of them are already part of amateur cricket clubs.”
Learn more by listening to our interview in the audio player above.