ON A RECENT SUNDAY MORNING, Troy Danilo grabbed his bat and headed out to his stepfather's blue Honda. The 17-year-old emerged from his house with his slender frame draped in several layers: various coloured T-shirts; a baseball-style hat, covered by a bright blue hooded sweatshirt; and lastly, a white, long-sleeve T-shirt, barely tugged down over the bulk beneath. The calendar said it was mid-April, early spring, but the earth wasn't in agreement. The wind was cold and unkind. The sun was gone, stolen by a grey sky, scattering fat raindrops. This was not cricket weather. But Danilo was determined, and there was a friendly match just minutes from his front door.
It was his first day playing for the Staten Island Cricket Club at Walker Field, a mere 25-minute ferry ride from the southern tip of Manhattan. A batsman originally from Australia, Danilo used to suit up regularly with friends back in Sydney. But when his family immigrated to the US six years ago, he discovered none of his new classmates knew about the game.
Though the United States played host to history's first-ever international cricket match, a 23-run loss to Canada in 1844, and the first overseas tour (a British visit in 1859), by the end of the 19th century, baseball had all but vanquished wickets from the American landscape. Today the game enjoys isolated pockets of popularity, mostly in immigrant communities throughout the country. Among these cloisters of action-starved batsmen and bowlers, cricket not only survives but thrives.