Walking by Garfield Square on Treat and 25th, you’re likely to see people playing soccer. Whether it be Latino men playing the game that is near religion in their country of origin or youth leagues in pint-sized world cups, it’s almost always soccer. But, if you walk by at the right time on Monday morning you’ll see another game in the works: cricket.
Playing this bat-and-ball game, popular in much of the former British Empire, are the SF Super Kings. In addition to being San Francisco’s only organized cricket team, the Super Kings are made up exclusively of Indian chefs who work in kitchens of restaurants around the Bay Area.
The Super Kings formed in 2009, when Dhiru Paulraj Kumar, a chef at Dosa who has recently moved to helm his own restaurant in Philadelphia, got together to play with other recent immigrants to the Mission. The group consists mainly of transplants from the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, many of whom met while in culinary school in the city of Chennai. Because they’re all chefs who don’t work Monday, playing cricket, a childhood love for many, was an obvious way to spend their day off.
In the larger Bay Area, the SF Super Kings are not alone. The team plays other groups from San Jose and Sunnyvale, which even supports an organized league, the Bay Area Cricket Alliance.