Around the world, there are several sports that people play with dedication, and, among them, soccer and cricket are the favourite ones. Similarly, in our country, cricket is the most popular sport among youngsters as well as older people.

Cricket does not need the use of too many things or equipment to play it — all one needs is the bat and ball. The need of the wickets is easily fulfilled by using the bottle-crates or by placing bricks vertically. The popularity of cricket can be gauged by the fact that even those who do not play it, love to watch it.

Holidays are the ideal time to play cricket but if everyday routine allows, children go out in the evenings and occupy any place — streets and roads — to entertain themselves.

Street cricket is at its peak when the national team is on a tour. Street cricketers believe in short duration matches like T20 type that have now gained popularity all over the world.

The rules for street cricket are simple; it is a six if the ball goes straight to a particular point. If it falls in that particular area but after touching the ground, it will be a four.

There are many players who first started playing on the streets and graduated to become part of our national team. Saeed Ajmal, who is famous for his off-spin bowling, first practised control over the ball on the streets and lanes of his hometown, Even, Afridi who knows how to hit a ball and how to get it fly over rooftops, was the star of his neighbourhood team that played wherever they could find space.

Our regular street cricketers greatly admire our national team players, no matter how many times they may fail to shine in the field.

The number of street cricketers has swelled as compare to the past and not only teenagers, but children too are getting more interested in this sport.

However, the scarcity of public parks and grounds in cities has lead to a situation that is described well by this saying, ‘one pomegranate can serve one hundred sick people’. For instance, the Polo ground in Karachi appears almost like a battleground on holidays when several teams occupy different areas to play. At such occasions, it becomes very difficult to make out which two teams are having a match against each other and often times, players go astray while fielding.

Contrary to the fun side, playing cricket on the streets can pose great danger to vehicles, pedestrians and also to the ones who are playing the game.

For instance, a ball could hit anyone, break the glass of the windows of a house which could, as a result, hurt someone seriously. Also, when a team blocks a particular area for playing cricket it causes traffic jams, and often results in accidents as these street cricketers don’t look in every direction when they hit the ball or when they run after to catch it; the ball, sometimes hits a passers-by or the players themselves get hurt in trying to catch it and are hit by a vehicle.

In developed countries, playgrounds are available in almost all localities, assuring the safety of the passersby as well as a separate place for sports. However, in our country, there are hardly any playgrounds available that’s why people usually occupy the streets and roads, posing a great danger to their lives and that of others as well.

If the authorities provide appropriate grounds for respective sports, our street cricketers, and players of other games could become good players who could represent our country internationally.

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