The year 2019 was ambling along fine for most people in Artarmon, until the pandemic hit. Artarmon is a quaint, leafy suburb in Sydney. With uncertainty surrounding Covid-19, people such as myself were looking for an outlet to cope with rising stress levels. This is when adults from the Indian community got together for a game of cricket. Along with indulging in the Gentleman’s game, we also hoped to set an example for children, that no matter how dire the situation, one could try to be positive and find a channel to reduce stress. The venue chosen was the beautiful Artarmon Oval. Since playing a proper form of cricket would take over the entire oval, we settled on box cricket.
This involves two teams of six to eight players, each playing in a confined space. Most matches are played within an hour and the rules are set before the game.
Initially, only a few people participated. However, in no time, a lot more joined in an exciting game of cricket. Eventually, there were enough teams to host the first Artarmon Premier League (APL) tournament, which we did on 18th April this year. Six teams participated, consisting of 38 players. Some superlative cricketing skills were on display and some matches went down to the wire. For most of the players, it was not only about engaging in friendly banter or winning bragging rights, but it became an avenue to relive joyous childhood memories. The tournament was sponsored by local businesses and was a grand success.
The second tournament was played on 23 October and 53 players participated. It was played with a lot of gusto and enthusiasm and was wholeheartedly supported by the community, many of whom turned up to cheer their favourite team. It did not matter if you didn’t have the flair of Steve Smith or couldn’t play an exquisite cover drive like Virat Kohli. All that was required was a willingness to have fun and enjoy the great game of cricket.