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Cricket enthusiasts of all age groups congregated on the Meenakshi Temple ground for the Cricket Festival organized by Pearland Cricket Club on Sunday, 29 August 2021.

This festival was part of ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’ to commemorate the 75th anniversary of India’s independence in association with Meenakshi Temple Society (MTS) in Pearland,Texas.

The momentum for the next phase of cricket growth in Pearland started with the cricket fever that gripped well-respected community leader Sam Kannappan a few months ago. Since then he has been spearheading the efforts to develop cricket ecosystem for guiding and supporting cricket players in Pearland.

First, a youth session with Alok Singh, corporate executive with Dell Technologies and professional cricket coach, was conducted. It was followed by a session with Julia Price, head coach of USA women’s national team.

Both sessions generated more enthusiasm towards cricket that led to the idea of a mega cricket event for broader communities in and around Pearland.

The MTS Chairman and the board unanimously agreed to organize this festival on the MTS premises. MTS board member and cricket captain Ganesh Rajamani motivated volunteers for a massive task of getting the ground and viewers areas ready.

As soon as the details of the Cricket Festival were communicated, people immediately started responding. The organizers had to close registration due to an overwhelming response and the limited play time on the festival day.

12 men’s teams, 2 women’s teams and 4 youth teams were formed with players from Pearland and the Greater Houston area. They all played and enjoyed shorter versions of the game on the festival day. The distinguished guests at the event were former Mayor Tom Reid, current Mayor Kevin Cole, Executive Director Tracy Rohrbacher, Consul General of India Aseem Mahajan, Consul Ashok Kumar and Consul Sandeep Chaudhary. They encouraged the players and appreciated the contributions of the volunteers. They also awarded them with trophies and mementos. In their talks, the guests also highlighted the shared values of democracy and independence in the US and India. Meenakshi temple Chairman Kannan, secretary Partha and treasurer Bhargavi honored the guests with shawl. Perumal Annamalai provided live stream in FB. Thiru Arumugam assisted with photography.

A live virtual interactive session with J. Arunkumar, head coach of USA men’s national team, was conducted. The session was moderated by Alok Singh in which J. Arunkumar shared valuable inputs and recommendations for skill development and players growth.

Mayor Kevin Cole also announced a new cricket ground in Pearland. With a fast-growing player base, many more cricket activities and games are expected to be organized by Pearland Cricket Club in association with Meenakshi Temple Society and Pearland City.

Reported by Partha Krishnaswamy