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Sudbury students learn cricket as sport’s popularity grows

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The Rainbow District School Board has added cricket to its curriculum based on the increased popularity of the sport and changing demographics.

Through a program offered by the Ministry of Education, the school board was given roughly $10,000 last year to purchase equipment and train staff.

This year, the school board was allocated $20,000 to continue building the sport locally.

Matt Cootes, physical education coordinator with the school board, has taken the lead in training staff and students. Originally from Australia, Cootes said cricket has always been one of his favourite sports.

"I just love the game and there's a lot of transferable skills that students can take out of this," he said.

Cricket is hugely popular in countries such as India, Great Britain, New Zealand and Australia.

Cootes said interest is increasing in North America.

"It's one of the largest growing sports in North America," he said.

The Rainbow District School Board has added cricket to its curriculum based on the increased popularity of the sport and changing demographics. (Photo from video)

"We have students who are coming from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Australia, New Zealand, where it’s a huge part of their culture. So we've been fortunate with this funding we can provide resources for our staff, time for training to help them improve their understanding of the game to bring it to students on a consistent basis."

Leah, a Grade 9 student, said she enjoys playing something different.

"It's similar to baseball and I've always played baseball," she said.

"I like that it's different from other sports. It's not similar to volleyball or basketball or everything we've done all our lives, so it’s fun to try something new."

Grade 9 student Dylan said he was playing cricket for the first time and enjoyed learning something new.

"I like the throwing aspect of it because we had to unlearn how we normally throw to learn how to throw in cricket, but it’s really fun," he said.

Kim Chezzi, the physical education teacher at Lively Secondary School, said it's important for students to be introduced to a wide range of sports.

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"I think it’s a great opportunity that all students should have the chance to try a new sport, especially something cultural-based," Chezzi said.

"That’s something we're trying to bring into our schools, as well, multicultural because we do have a lot of people moving into Sudbury specifically and this is their national game."

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