Senator Kevin Thomas is taking a different approach compared to others in the New York Senate. He’s the first Indian-American in the body, eager to share his culture with others.
What better way to do that than by taking the wicket out and exposing New Yorkers to cricket, an uncommon sport in the United States, but one of the most popular overseas.
The project will impact the state’s youth by promoting cricket. He introduced a bill to the state senate on Feb. 15 that would create a first-of-its kind “Empire State cricket board.”
“In other countries where cricket is popular, like football or baseball, they have cricket boards to promote the sport and raise revenue for the sport, so matches can be played,” Thomas said. “The whole intention of this is to promote the sport here in New York.”
Thomas represents the sixth district, which includes Levittown. He took to office in January, spearheading an anti-gun legislation.
“If it is created, the intention is to promote the sport and bring in people who are not too familiar with the sport,” Thomas said. “When I moved here—I used to play cricket back home—those facilities weren’t around. The board should sponsor tournaments or fields so kids can play.”
The cricket board would have five members, each of whom “will have experience and expertise in the game of cricket.” The group will feature one member appointed by different officials, including the governor, temporary president of the senate, minority leader of the senate, speaker of the assembly and the minority leader of the assembly.
Thomas believes that cricket can be the next big sport in New York if promoted correctly.
With the bill, he is determined to give New Yorkers a new form of international education.
“Hicksville is part of my district,” he said. “I had a few constituents come up to me and talk about the sport. They asked, ‘Can you help us find some fields to play in? Can you help us get a stadium?’ They never talked about a cricket board. This is something that can get fields to play in, promoting the sport and more from there.”
The bill is going through the cultural affairs, tourism, parks and recreation committee. From there, if the committee deems it worthwhile, it will reach the state senate floor for voting.