TWENTY-five year old Raj Singh is one of the leading members of the Clare Cricket Club, which was formed two years ago.
The Indian national, who lives in Ballycasey and works in Limerick, says that the club has a good number of members living in Shannon, where much of their summer training was done.
“This was just our second year. Because we don’t have our own ground, we have to play all away games. We trained on the all-weather pitch here in Shannon and in Ennis a bit. For the winter, we are training indoors in Newmarket.”
Of course, there is a very small cricket base in the county, with many of the players having recently arrived to Ireland. “We have three or four from South Africa, a few from England and Australia and three or four more from India. We have a few Irish playing as well. It’s a mixture of people from all different cultures.”
While it’s not a game that stirs the passion of many in Clare as yet, Raj feels that younger people are curious about it. “There’s a lot of interest. We have about 20 players and there are loads of kids who are interested. My little cousin goes to school and meets Irish kids who want to come along. We are trying to get our own ground next season and if we get our own ground, we can get more kids involved. Hopefully next year we will have more members and more players.”
He is hopeful that the club could actually field two teams in 2010. “In the first season, we were bottom of the league but this year we won our division. It was a big, big achievement for us. If we get more players, we’ll compete in league one and league two next year.”
Those who have played hurling may have a bit of a head start if they turn to cricket, according to Raj.
“Two of the Irish players are playing for England now and Ian Morgan is one of them. He used to play hurling when he was a child. If you see him playing, some of his shots are like hurling.
“I was watching Ian Botham commentating lately and he was saying in the commentary that his shots were very like hurling. In the two sports, hand-eye co-ordination is very important. Even the fielding is like hurling,” he said.