"My grandfather, who is from India, encouraged me to play cricket," Ronak said. "I used to play in his backyard in Sykesville when I was younger. I'll definitely talk about it in school, and it would be even more fun if my friends would join."
Ronak has already convinced one friend to play the sport. Bradley Jones, of Eldersburg, was among the most active players on a recent Saturday morning.
"It was really different from baseball," said Bradley, a veteran of eight baseball seasons who will enter the sixth grade at Oklahoma Road Middle School this fall. "I had to get used to not dropping the bat and playing without a glove."
Ronak, a baseball catcher who was trying his hand at wicket-keeping, is carrying on his family's heritage.
"We went to India for a wedding, and he played cricket with kids in the neighborhood," said Ronak's mother, Shalini Morgan, of Eldersburg. "He didn't understand their language, and they didn't understand English. But it was clearly an example of the universal language of sports. I think it's wonderful to see kids from all backgrounds and nationalities come together over sports.
"We have actually sat in front of the TV at 3 in the morning to watch cricket, especially the World Cup matches. Ronak was excited when cricket came to his school, and he thought it would be cool to try it," she said. "My father played cricket in the D.C. area after he came to this country in the 1960s. It's nice to see it come full circle, where he can see his grandson learning the game."
Edwards, whose sons Joshua and Noah play in the program, is pleased with the group's progress.
"They're actually picking it up quicker than I would have thought," he said. "They already have knowledge of hitting and pitching from playing baseball.
"We're keeping it pretty simple for them, and they're learning the basics," he said. "In our last few sessions, we've been primarily focused on fielding and developing the wicket-keepers."
Harrison feels that it's just a matter of time before cricket becomes popular not only in Winfield, but across the country. He notes that cricket was played in the United States as far back as the 1700s.
"Washington's troops played cricket at Valley Forge, and Lincoln went to cricket matches in the Midwest before he became president," Harrison said. "What happened was that baseball was being modified on a consistent basis, and as a result became a more fan-friendly sport and eventually America's pastime. At the same time, cricket refused to bend its rules and fell into the background.
"But in the last half of the 20th century, cricket began to get flexible, modified its rules, and surged in international popularity. The last World Cup in 2011 was watched by over 2 billion people."
The Winfield Recreation Council's youth cricket summer instructional league at Mayeski Park will host its final sessions on Wednesday, July 25, 6-8 p.m.; and Saturday, July 28, 9-11 a.m. For more details, call 240-487-9224 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.