Fayaz Mogal grew up playing cricket in India. But he didn't become a Warrior in the game until he moved to Fort Wayne in 2006.
Mogal is part of the Fort Wayne Warriors, a cricket team made up of business professionals – including those in manufacturing, health care and technology – who play mainly on the weekends. There are 20 to 25 members on the team, Mogal says.
Like Mogal, who is 32, most of the men are in their 20s and 30s. Mogal is married with a 3-year-old son and works at Trelleborg Sealing Solutions.
The team started after several men who had an interest in cricket got together to play. Most of the members are from India, but there are also players from Pakistan and from Trinidad and Tobago, Mogal says.
“We knew there was a lot of interest in cricket,” he says. “Being in a small minority community, you get to know people.”
The team played their first tournament in 2009 – the year the team was created. Mogal says the most recent tournament, which the team hosted in September, included 16 teams from across Indiana and Ohio; they have another tournament planned for May 31 at Kreager Park.
But playing cricket in Fort Wayne has had its difficulties. The team currently plays in baseball fields because the city's parks don't have a pitch – the grassy strip used for the game.
That means the team doesn't play official cricket and uses a hard tennis ball manufactured for cricket use, Mogal says.
The team has submitted a proposal to the Fort Wayne Parks Department asking for a cricket pitch to be placed in Kreager Park. Mogal says the park had a pitch at one time, but it was removed.
Adding a pitch to the park would help the team's efforts to promote the game of cricket. Part of that effort is hosting youth camps and talking to people who come to the games and know nothing about cricket, Mogal says.
“We have so many people stopping by, … asking, ‘What are you doing?' ”