VIDEO. « It’s still something quite sporty », cricket a sporting discipline not so phlegmatic

Cricket, a major discipline in Britain and the Indian subcontinent. This pitcher and batsman game is beginning to be practiced in our region.

How does a sport emerge, become popular? The ease of playing it simply whatever the place, the terrain. A ball, a bat and you can play cricket, in the streets of Islamabad as in the Parc du Grand Blottereau in Nantes.

« There are the Indians, the Pakistanis, the Afghans and then the Bengalis »lists Usman Awan
President and player Loire Cricket Club, « I, my captain, 3-4 players work, but most of them are students ».

They exchange in French and in Oudour, the transversal language of the countries of South Asia. Cricket revives the memory of past gestures and the lives they left behind.

« I’m all alone but there are friends, we’re family, says Hayat Hotak, Loire Cricket Club playerwe didn’t know each other before but when we arrived in France, we talked together, we talked about our country Afghanistan, and there we are like brothers, we are still together ».

When he arrived in France in Nantes, in 2015, Jamal Syed very quickly looked for a club to try to play cricket in this country where it is so little practiced. Then the cooking CAP, the work in the restaurant, the family that was formed, helped him to settle down… without ever forgetting the sport of his childhood.

« Since I was little, I’ve loved cricket. I’ve played football too, but cricket… I even wanted to play for Pakistan but there aren’t too many resources »

It’s a sport for everyone, if you’re rich you play better, if you’re poor you play too

jamal syed


Cricket has 120 million members in the world but only 1,500 in France, the majority of whom are exiled men like here, within the Loire cricket club, in Nantes.

Same Nantes park, just the day and the hour which changes, the women’s section of Nantes, the other local club, trains. 25 licensees also called Duchesses.

It’s great, the spirit of conquest, strength, intensity, it’s also a release

Sabine Lieury

Cricket player, president Nantes Cricket Club

Cricket changed his life. Between two communication campaigns, Sabine Lieury, the advertiser recognizes it: new point of balance, social life, small revenge too.

« In second, I remember having on one of my reports: « ghostly » in the EPS box, she says, I always had the impression that I didn’t like sport and that sport didn’t like me. It’s a real revelation that I had at 35 years old ».

There is no physical, special talent to have, at least to start

Sabine Lieury,

Cricketer, President Nantes Cricket Club

Cricket revelation for Sabine, confirmation for Mathilde Willey, pronounce in English please! Confirmation of an inheritance.

At 16, it’s hard to imagine a room that sweats more cricket.

« The first time I held a bat, I was 7 years old, says the girl, my grandfather made it, he comes from England, my father too and my two brothers ».

« VSIt’s still something quite sporty because you have a helmet, a bat that still weighs two kilos, pads, it’s hot, you always have to be in hyper concentration. It also takes intensity to hit a ball. »

Thresher, pitcher at heart. Get started. Because cricket would benefit from giving more space to women.

In Pétosse, a village in the South Vendée, a few retired English expatriates confront the Duchesses of Nantes.

All friendly confrontation on this land loaned by the town hall. Cricket does not return Hugh Armitage does not return to his childhood. The former rugby player sees it as a leisure sport, without contact, with a reasoned exhaustion, adapted to his form, his age and his state of mind…

« We wanted to create, through the practice of a team sport, something social. Not just playing, explains the president and player of the Pétosse Cricket Club, we play seriously but above all we appreciate the « social » character. The social life of cricket, the English love it. »

« He asked me, do you want to join the cricket team, remembers Robert Morpeth, Pétosse Cricket Club player, but I had never played cricket in England, the first time I played cricket was in France ».

The foreigner at the Pétosse Cricket Club is Jérémy Stévenin, the Vendéen freshly converted to cricket.

« I have a problem with my shoulder but it doesn’t bother me to be able to play, he explains, there is the effectively calm side, and then there is the side where we will have to explode and then we will have to be 100% operational even if we do not move ».

A few French people joined us. They are enthusiastic, and above all, they are younger than us. It helps us a lot on the pitch.

Hugh Armitage

President and player of the Pétosse Cricket Club

« We have to worry about the future, says Hugh Armitage, for that we must train, in a way educate the French, in our game.

French gentlemen, it’s up to you. Exotic and accessible, cricket has many virtues. The first is to play while taking the time to live. In sport, this is a rare quality.

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