LIVINGSTON, NJ — The new Madonna Turf Field was put to use on the 4th of July when more than 150 families and friends—both residents and non-residents of Livingston—cheered on the two teams competing in the first-ever 4th of July Cricket exhibition.

According to Nilesh Mhatre, executive member of the Sanskriti of New Jersey, the idea was initiated in April when Livingston 4th of July Committee member Justin Escher Alpert saw a group of enthusiastic Indians playing Cricket in Livingston. Mhatre said he approached the Cricket Club in May to propose a demonstration game between the Bhuptani Jets vs. the Manjrekar Giants as part of the township’s daylong celebration on July 4, 2017.

In the month’s leading up to the celebration, the organizing team of Ketan Bhuptani, Milind Sapre, Samir Jokla and Mhatre worked hard to prepare the format, team composition, rules, uniforms and more in order to showcase the increasingly popular game of Cricket on Independence Day in Livingston.

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Deputy Mayor Edward Meinhardt graced the occasion during the presentation ceremony on Tuesday to mention that “the new turf field has the word ‘community’ as part of the name” and that the community looks forward to many more Cricket games in the future.

“Sports have the power to bring the community together regardless of your origin and has grown substantially with excellent participation here in our town Livingston,” said Mhatre. “It was great honor to be a part of this memorable showcase and we would like to especially take the opportunity to thank the township council, specifically Deputy Mayor Mr. Meinhardt, Mr. Justin Alpert, Ms. Liliana and Scott Maynard for their support.”

The members of Sanskriti said they look forward to continuing this tradition for years to come.