LIYCA players

For Long Island Cricketers, The T20 World Cup Is Just The Beginning

By Michael Malaszczyk

The ICC T20 Cricket World Cup, which has been taking place to much fanfare at Eisenhower Park in East Meadow this month, has likely introduced many Long Islanders to the sport of cricket. But when the cup is over and all the tents are rolled up, it won’t necessarily be the end of cricket on the island.

Parmanand Sarju certainly hopes so.

Sarju is the founder of Long Island Youth Cricket Academy (LIYCA), which was established 13 years ago and aims to teach Long Island children the sport that baseball can trace its roots back to.

“I tried to find a place for my son to play,” Sarju, who was born in Guyana before coming to the U.S. as a child, said. “I played as a child, and I couldn’t really find anywhere that is structured to play in the local area. So, I went ahead, and I got certified by International Cricket as coach, and from that time onwards, I started coaching my son and one of his friends and that gravitated into what we have today.”

The biggest challenge, of course, was finding a place to practice, as many parks in Nassau County feature baseball fields, basketball courts, tennis courts, soccer fields, and more – but no cricket fields.

“When we started playing in Eisenhower Park, we played under a tree with no other facility,” Sarju said. “We advocated for a [cricket] pitch for which the county was kind enough to put in two for us over at Eisenhower, where the adults are playing on one, and the youth are playing on the second one.”

The request was granted when former County Executive Laura Curran was in office, and Sarju was grateful for that – but even more grateful that current County Executive Bruce Blakeman brought the international sport to his backyard. Blakeman called it “bigger than the Super Bowl,” at a news conference – a sentiment many outside of the United States may agree with.

Already, the results have begun to show for LIYCA.

“We’ve done a pilot program with the Nassau County Police Athletic League, and just a month ago, we did one with the Valley Stream School District,” Sarju said. “The athletic director reached out and said, ‘Hey, I see that they are bringing the Cricket World Cup [to Nassau], we do have students that may be interested in this program. Can you guys assist us and try to do something just to see what the tournament is going to be?’ And it was a great success.”

Sarju, a lifelong fan of the sport, has attended every World Cup match played on Long island — and already met some potential athletes.

“I’ve had up to four kids apply in the past few days,” he said. “I’ve been in touch with the parks commissioner about the future of cricket here. We’re building something here, and it will continue to grow.”

(Photos courtesy of Parmanand Sarju/Long island Youth Cricket Academy)

Aspiring cricketers on Long Island don’t have the varsity system to get exposure, something LIYCA is aware of and hopes to make up for as the sport grows.

“When lacrosse first came on to Long Island, it wasn’t established yet either,” Sarju said. “But  there was a structuring governing body and all that good stuff that led to lacrosse being what it is now. So now, we have USA Cricket that has a program. And we’ll build off of that.”

What drives Sarju’s personal love for the sport is its international appeal – something Long Island has etched its name into the history of.

“The fact that Cricket was able to come to New York is great,” Sarju said. “There are so many cricketers, or cricket games that are being played every single weekend in makeshift environments. And to bring the World Cup to Long Island, when I travel the world now, when I’m in Singapore, when I’m in Dubai and I say, ‘Yes, I’m from Long Island,’ the reference is going to be, ‘Oh yes, that’s where the Cricket World Cup was played.’ Although I have a slight pet peeve that on television, they say ‘New York’ and show the Statue of Liberty. I love New York, but they should be showing the Montauk Lighthouse, or Jones Beach, or the Westbury Gardens.”

If your child is interested in playing cricket, visit


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