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There is no word on whether Pope Francis will be batting or bowling a ball, but the Vatican has officially launched its first cricket club. The St. Peter’s Cricket Club is the Vatican’s latest effort to boost interfaith dialogue. Cricket is immensely popular in largely non-Catholic regions such as India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Australia’s ambassador to the Roman Catholic Church and creator of the club, John McCarthy, said it would be a “very special occasion” for the Vatican’s seminarians and priests to play a match against students at Muslim or Hindu schools.
The Vatican hopes to draw from some 250 to 300 students and priests at the Vatican and other pontifical universities around Rome, where cricket is already being played informally, to form a team that would be fielded as early as spring. The team will use the pitch at Rome’s Capannelle Cricket Club.