Snow cricket gets a spin at Regina's Waskimo Winter Festival

Snow cricket gets a spin at Regina's Waskimo Winter Festival

Prakhar Shrivastava grew up playing cricket on the warm and muggy streets of India, but on Monday, he'll be playing cricket in the snow at Waskimo Winter Festival in Regina.

People will have their chance to try out the international sport for the second year in a row at the winter festival.

Shrivastava said when organizers first approached the club to play the game at last year's event, he was a bit skeptical, to say the least.

"I thought they must be out of their mind," he told Saskatchewan Weekend host Shauna Powers, with a chuckle.

However, he said he and the other members of Regina's Cavaliers Sport and Social Club were up for the challenge, having never played on the snow before.

It was definitely not the club's most serious game, with people bundled up, moving more slowly and taking a few more spills than usual. But the event was open to everyone, including the club's families and other spectators, and many people walking by seemed to take an interest, said Shrivastava.

"Last year we had the kids lining up just to try it out, and even the parents lining up. It's definitely fun to have something like that."

Newcomers join the sport expecting it to be like baseball, but quickly find cricket is different animal, with its own movements. The youngest kids would miss the ball a few times before finally connecting with it, and the joy in their face when they finally managed to make a hit was "just phenomenal to see," said Shrivastava.

Shrivastava said when he moved to Canada 15 years ago as a teenager, there were only 30 people getting together to play the sport. But more immigrant growth in the province has seen an explosion of interest, with a growth in up to 500 members, with junior cricketers and a woman's league getting off the ground.

The sport is still primarily an immigrant sport in Saskatchewan, said Shrivastava, but he hopes the exposure at the Winter Festival will help plant the seed among others.

Cricketers are keen to get new people involved in their games, and the summer months will often see people batting and bowling in parks and cricket grounds in Regina.

"If you just show up to them and ask them can I try the sport or try to bat a ball, they'd love to help you and teach you," said Shrivastava, who encourages newcomers to the sport not to get discouraged if it isn't as simple as picking up the bat and knocking the ball out of the park.

"Be patient and give it a fair shot."