The Indian American

whose conversations are a blend of English, Urdu and Hindi, and terms that many outsiders might find just as foreign - wickets, stumps and bails. The game they play is cricket, and its emergence here reflects the incredible diversity of the nation's fourth- largest city and its sprawling reach. Prairie View, situat- ed about 45 miles from downtown Houston, might seem an unlikely place for an international cricket destina- tion, but Houston businessman Tanweer Ahmed is looking to change that. Ahmed is turning an 86-acre lot into a massive sports complex with seven cricket fields, a youth academy and a stadium big enough to host professional teams. "Cricket is the second most popular sport in the world after soccer, and the U.S. is missing out on that part of the world," he said. "But the U.S. has huge potential." Over the past several decades, Houston's growing immi- grant population has profoundly changed the local cul- ture. Hispanics now represent the largest racial or eth- nic group, but the Asian population is the fastest grow- ing. There are thriving Vietnamese, Indian and Pakistani communities, and the metropolitan area is home to arguably the best curries, kebabs and nihari in the South. The city is dotted with halal butchers and international grocery stores that sell South Asian sta- ples such as chickpea flour. And socially, it's just as common to hear immigrants and the children of immigrants talk about Virat Kohli or Jasprit Bumrah - both men are professional cricket players in India - as it is to hear others talk about quar- terback Tom Brady. In Ahmed's view, that makes the area perfect for cricket. The first four fields in Ahmed's complex opened in early September, and the inaugural games involved half a dozen teams, which played for hours despite the heat, humidity and mud from days of rain. With every bowl - 06 THE INDIAN AMERICAN OCTOBER-DECEMBER 2018