Winter cricketers appeal to council

Wyndham winter cricketers holding their petition calling for more facilities and grounds to be made available. (supplied) 409541_01

Cade Lucas

Like much of the rest of the country, Wyndham has plenty of cricket facilities. Also like much of the rest of the country, those cricket facilities become football facilities over winter.

But a group of South Asian cricketers from countries such as India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, are for campaigning for more of Wyndham’s cricket grounds to be made available so they can play their beloved sport all year round.

The group have launched a petition calling on Wyndham council to provide more facilities for winter cricket, arguing that booking grounds to play on during football season is becoming increasingly difficult.

“The availability of grounds has been lessened because they’re pre-booked for football and other sports,” said spokesperson and winter cricketer, Aijaz Moinuddin.

“Interest in cricket is growing in Wyndham as the majority of new arrivals are from the sub-continent and the lack of facilities is demoralising for people who can’t play cricket anymore.”

While understanding that established winter sports like football soccer had to be accommodated, Mr Moinuddin said the group were frustrated at the low priority given to winter cricket by Wyndham council.

“The responses that we’ve seen from council give us no hope of their being enough facilities to play cricket in winter,” he said, adding that governing bodies like Cricket Victoria and Cricket Australia had shown little interest either.

Since launching the petition the situation has begun to change, with Mr Moinuddin and his fellow winter cricketers securing a meeting with Wyndham mayor Jennie Barrera on June 4, where the petition and its signatures and demands will be presented.

The petition argues the lack of cricket grounds over winter has resulted in: limited opportunities for physical exercise, leading to

rhealth issues; residents being forced to travel long distances to other locations/councils; ; increased stress and anxiety and decreased social interaction among cricketers.

The petition demands winter cricket facilities be provided at any of a range of venues, including Arndell Park Reserve, Truganina, Glen Orden Reserve, Werribee and Hummingbird Boulevard Reserve, Tarneit,

The also want more synthetic pitches to be installed and suitable grounds be made available all year round.

Responding ahead of receiving the petition next month, Wyndham council said it works with all sporting bodies to provide access to facilities and would continue to do so.

“Unfortunately, demand continues to outweigh capacity, with several teams unfortunately

unable to be accommodated each year,” said a council spokesperson.

Cricket Victoria’s General Manager of Community and Premier Cricket, Liam Murphy said they were aware of the issue and were hopeful of soon having a solution.

“We have growing community interest in winter cricket and we’re currently working through several pilot programs that can support participation in our game over the cooler months.”