Apr 18, 2016

April 18, 2016 Choosing cricket over gangs

Screen shot 2016-04-18 at 9
crédito de foto:All Out Cricket

Source: All Out Cricket 

"Goodbye Pinky, the barrio will miss you." Like many impoverished towns in Guatemala, there are no road signs pointing to Santiago Sacatepéquez, even though it's barely two kilometres off the highway from Guatemala City to Antigua, the country's sun-kissed tourist mecca.

Pinky, one of the countless young men slain in Guatemala's gang culture, is not an alias likely to mean much to tourists or business elites making a weekend getaway to Antigua. But the sportsmen of Santiago won't forget him any time soon. Should a batsman glance up after taking his guard, or a bowler pause at the top of his mark, they can read the farewell to Pinky daubed on the wall of the municipal stadium.

This was the place where Geovanny Jolón Yucute, 20, first shuffled in to bowl a cricket ball. During his teens, several of Geovanny's friends were handpicked to be errand boys for drug-pushers higher up the chain. Some family members feared he might go the same way. But Geovanny rejected that path in favour of God, a university degree, and a regular spot in the Guatemala middle order.

Geovanny spent hours in the local internet café, streaming YouTube videos of Shane Warne and other legspinners, before taking to the streets to mimic their flicks of the wrist. "I enjoyed the challenge," he says. "Cricket was unlike anything I'd ever tried before. None of my friends understand what it is. They think I'm weird. They don't know the rules or how it works. They only know football." 

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