Vancouver Island is now home to a new tennis cricket league, along with two women’s teams created to help break a barrier in sports.
On Sunday, the Victoria Tennis Cricket League (VTCL) had its opening day at Stelly’s Secondary School in Central Saanich. With more than 100 players and eight teams, the league’s founder first wanted to bring tennis cricket to the Island but was quickly asked to provide more spaces for women.
“Initially, I was just going to arrange and organize a cricket league for men only. But then, a few ladies called up and said, ‘Rajiv, why can’t ladies play cricket as well?'” said Rajiv Oza, founder of the VTCL.
Less than a month before the league had its first day of play, team captains Kinjae Tolat and Kanika Verma Batta put a call out to recruit players for their teams. They successfully managed to secure 19 players.
“It’s a diversified team. There’s people from the U.S., from Canada, from India, so it’s a diversified team. Our main motto is to network with each other,” said Batta.
The two women’s teams are comprised of players from all skill sets and ages. The youngest is 19, and the oldest is over 60 years old.
Tolat, who is captain of her team ‘Her Storymakers,’ came up with the name to highlight the importance of women breaking the barrier in sports.
“I would say this name emphasizes every female’s story. They’re making their own stories by playing cricket for the first time,” said Tolat.
Tolat believes that next year, they’ll have double or triple the number of women players in the league.
The VTCL will continue their season through July. The women’s teams are focusing on getting comfortable with each other and learning more about the sport.
Players wanting to join the league are encouraged to contact Rajiv at [email protected]