Fielder of Dreams

Nelson Man­dela, one of the world's great­est phi­lan­thropists, once said that sport has the power to change the world through its abil­ity of pro­mot­ing in­te­gra­tion. In line with this, the Jakarta Cricket As­so­ci­a­tion (JCA) unites peo­ple of all na­tion­al­i­ties,

Indonesia Expat - - SPORTS & ASSOCIATIONS - BY CAR ANISSA DJATMIKO If you're keen to get in­volved, please visit www.jakar­tacricket.com for more in­for­ma­tion.

Com­pris­ing ap­prox­i­mately 16 teams, the JCA has gar­nered sports en­thu­si­asts from In­done­sia, Aus­tralia, the United King­dom, In­dia, the Nether­lands, South Africa and var­i­ous other places around the globe. In turn, play­ers of JCA em­brace liv­ing in a mul­ti­cul­tural so­ci­ety.

Ex­perts be­lieve cricket was cre­ated dur­ing Saxon or Nor­man times by chil­dren liv­ing in the Weald, an area of dense wood­lands and clear­ings in south- east Eng­land. Over a cen­tury ago, Eng­land's na­tional cricket team was en­riched by im­mi­grant play­ers, hail­ing from coun­tries in­clud­ing Zim­babwe, Bar­ba­dos, Guyana, Ire­land, In­dia, Ja­maica and Kenya. Th­ese play­ers came from var­i­ous back­grounds; some were born to ex­pa­tri­ate par­ents, oth­ers were stu­dents, some earned qual­i­fi­ca­tions through res­i­dency, and some sim­ply came to play.

In In­done­sia, cricket was in­tro­duced dur­ing colo­nial times, when Sir Thomas Stam­ford Raf­fles of the Bri­tish East In­dia Com­pany served as Lieu­tenant Gov­er­nor of Java, based in Batavia (Jakarta) from 1811–1816. Not­with­stand­ing the lack of ev­i­dence sug­gest­ing Raf­fles' role in this, cricket was in fact played 18 years af­ter the English­man found the set­tle­ment of Sin­ga­pore in 1819, when the game was played in Padang.

In the 1880s, cricket was played in In­done­sia when the Batavia Cricket Club com­peted against a vis­it­ing cir­cus team in Jakarta, who de­cided to join the match in full clown re­galia and lost. The JCA was es­tab­lished some­where in 1992 when the league ar­ranged friendly games and tour­ing teams, which later in­spired other re­gions like Bali to form a sim­i­lar as­so­ci­a­tion.

To­day, the JCA has gath­ered a “di­verse yet high qual­ity group of peo­ple”, as one of the group's mem­bers, Ben Burgess puts it. “We play com­pet­i­tive cricket on the field and en­joy each other's com­pany off it. We have a very wel­com­ing at­mos­phere,” he says.

To Burgess, play­ing cricket al­lows him to meet and so­cial­ize with a like-minded group of peo­ple. He fur­ther adds that the league in­tends to in­vite more peo­ple from dif­fer­ent coun­tries and back­grounds to get the full ex­pe­ri­ence of play­ing cricket in In­done­sia.

The JCA to­day has over 300 play­ers reg­is­tered, and po­ten­tial play­ers must go through a se­lec­tion process. “The se­lec­tion process is gen­er­ally merit-based, though given the tran­sient na­ture of ex­pats in Jakarta, as well as work com­mit­ments, the team will never be com­prised of the same 11 play­ers from one match to the next,” Burgess says.

Burgess­club called him­selfthe Jakar­tais a mem­ber Bar­bar­ians.of a Estab­lishe­do­nly play gamesin 2012,on the the field, Bar­bar­ians­but also not or­ga­nize cel­e­bra­tions/com­mis­er­a­tions,ac­tiv­i­ties such as post-match­brunch with fam­ily mem­bers, and over­seas tours, which he con­sid­ers his most mem­o­rable ex­pe­ri­ence of be­ing in the club.

“Bar­bar­ians have toured Ho Chi Minh, Manila and Bangkok in re­cent sea­sons, though on-field re­sults have al­ways been less im­pres­sive than off-field pur­suits,” Burgess ad­mits.

Burgess be­lieves the club has come a long way since his ar­rival, shortly af­ter which he par­tic­i­pated in a vic­tory. “It is a good mem­ory for me as it was the club's first win, and was achieved by chas­ing down a re­spectable to­tal of 189 runs in 31 overs,” Burgess says.

Since then, the club has gained more vic­to­ries, in­clud­ing one over the en­tire league in 2014. The Bar­bar­ians have also be­come more or­ga­nized, thanks to fam­ily mem­bers' con­tri­bu­tions. Lunches are of­ten catered by the WAG (wives and girl­friends) con­tin­gent, fi­nances are kept on spread­sheets, and team mem­bers are con­trolled and re­stricted to 11 play­ers.

One of the most sig­nif­i­cant pro­gres­sions that the club has made is the birth of their very own club-house, lo­cated above Everest Bar in Blok M, which is gen­er­ously stocked with mem­o­ra­bilia and mer­chan­dise. With ap­prox­i­mately 20 mem­bers, the Bar­bar­ians are the only club in Jakarta with such fa­cil­i­ties.

Ac­cord­ing to Burgess, the league grows stronger by the day. “Ba­si­cally par­tic­i­pa­tion in the league is ex­pand­ing as both ex­pa­tri­ate and lo­cal in­ter­est in­creased in re­cent years,” he ex­plains. This, ac­cord­ing to Burgess, is due to the re­sult of sev­eral govern­ment-funded pro­grammes, as well as pri­vate ini­tia­tives for school chil­dren that help de­velop the league.

Aside from the nor­mal match sched­ule, the JCA will be tour­ing Hong Kong in Oc­to­ber, where they will play at the Kowloon Cricket Club, an his­toric cricket venue in Asia.

The JCA proves that sport is more than just a com­pe­ti­tion. And in this case, cricket's his­tor­i­cal ref­er­ences fur­ther re­mind us that a game can serve as a pow­er­ful lan­guage that unites peo­ple wher­ever they may come from.

…the league in­tends to in­vite more peo­ple from dif­fer­ent coun­tries and back­grounds to get the full ex­pe­ri­ence of play­ing cricket in In­done­sia.

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