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State's First Cricket Field Could Mean Big Business For Bartlesville

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BARTLESVILLE, Oklahoma -

Oklahoma’s first cricket field is opening in Bartlesville and community leaders said they expect it to bring thousands of dollars to the city.

"While it's the second largest sport in the world, here in the Midwest, cricket is still relatively unknown," said Tyler Vaclaw, cricket club board member.

Cricket is a game of deep focus, athleticism and a lot of endurance.

"The biggest, the longest format of the game is called test cricket, which goes on for five days," said founder of the Bartlesville Cricket Club, Mayur Kulkarni.

There are several clubs throughout Oklahoma and our region, but they're playing on makeshift fields. The closest actual field is in Houston.

Kulkarni said they were approved to build a field five years ago but things did not work out. In the last six months, however, more financial donors came along and the dream became reality.

"It took off so well that we've been able to go to our Christmas list and get other amenities to really make it standout," Vaclaw said.

Community leaders said sports have brought a lot of money to Bartlesville and they believe cricket will add to that.

"If we have a tournament, a cricket tournament that brings in a similar amount of people, 300 to 400 competitors plus their families, they have to stay at a hotel, go out to eat," said Maria Gus with the Bartlesville Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The Convention and Visitors Bureau said 40 percent of the money it generates comes from sports.

Kulkarni believes the field can be successful and bring in a lot of money because of how authentic it is.

"We could have gone to any other field, small fields and just put in a bat and turf on it, but that wouldn't have attracted people here to Bartlesville," he said.

The first match is Saturday, May 5.

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