Cricket competition has officially come to Pleasanton, now that the community's first designated pitch has opened at Alisal Elementary School.
Created in partnership between the Pleasanton Unified School District and local youth cricket group Cricket for Cubs, the new field will provide a much-needed space for the increasingly popular sport and serve as a way to help local residents feel like their interests are reflected in their community, according to local officials.
"We are so excited to share with you this new addition to our school and to the Pleasanton community. At Alisal we embrace diversity, we love people of different abilities, different genders, different cultures and so on," Alisal's principal Karen Johnson said during a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the pitch last Friday. "The addition of this cricket pitch to our school fits perfectly as it will allow us to learn."
"This is not just about the sport itself, but about the city and Tri-Valley demonstrating inclusion and community buildup," added San Ramon City Councilman Sridhar Verose, founder and former president of San Ramon Cricket Association. "It's very important to make your community members and your residents feel like they are a part of it and welcome."
PUSD agreed to invest $60,000 in refurbishing the Alisal field in November 2020 as a part of its ongoing efforts to improve local school fields, school staff said. Cricket for Cubs agreed to fund the construction of the Alisal cricket pitch.
The field will be used to serve a significant growing number of Tri-Valley residents who have an interest in cricket, according to district officials, who added that since Cricket for Cubs was founded by Ramesh Immadi in 2015, membership has grown from 36 players to more than 300 kids. Cricket for Cubs has also introduced the sport to more than 4,000 students through P.E. and after-school programs.
"It's a great honor for Cricket for Cubs to partner with Pleasanton Unified in building this field. This is our second cricket infrastructure project, the first one being the cricket cages built in Emerald Glen Park in Dublin. PUSD has supported us in establishing cricket in after school programs," Amador Valley High junior Ajay Immadi said at Friday's ribbon cutting.
Ajay Immadi, son of the Cricket for Cubs founder, was recently shortlisted for the 26-member USA Men's Under-19 National Training Group after the completion of the Under-19 National Cricket Championship tournament hosted during spring break in Houston, Texas.
"We have assured the community members that we are going to be good neighbors and not disturb the community with balls flying into yards," Ajay Immadi added with a laugh. "We are looking forward to seeing more cricket in the community."