UT Club Gives Cricket Championships a Swing

Young team surprises itself in early tournament

Published: Mar 18, 2011
The UT Cricket Club has about 65 members, including a diverse range of Caribbean, Indian, Pakistani and American students. Only 14 play on the competitive team, which travelled to Fort Lauderdale for the tournament.
The UT Cricket Club has about 65 members, including a diverse range of Caribbean, Indian, Pakistani and American students. Only 14 play on the competitive team, which travelled to Fort Lauderdale for the tournament.

It came as a surprise to members of UT’s Cricket Club that in its debut, it qualified for a national tournament.

The team placed third in American College Cricket’s Southeast Championship in November over teams like the University of Miami. They advanced to the 2011 Spring Break Championship taking place March 15-20 against teams like the University of Florida and Auburn University.

“It surprised us a little bit because we hadn’t played much together before,” said Kaushal Vaddiraj ’13, president of UT’s Cricket Club, which formed in the fall. “We didn’t have any expectations. Now we have set a higher bar.”

The UT Cricket Club has about 65 members, including a diverse range of Caribbean, Indian, Pakistani and American students. Only 14 play on the competitive team, which travelled to Fort Lauderdale for the tournament. They were nervous but also excited to be playing in the nation’s unofficial cricket capital, near the site of one of the only cricket stadiums in the U.S., Vaddiraj said.

“All our friends are expecting us to win now,” said Ishan Patel ’11, the club’s vice president and team captain. “We are trying hard to do our best in this national championship.”

Ask Vaddiraj why he likes cricket, a game he’s been playing since he was 3, and his answer is simple.

“I’m Indian,” said Vaddiraj, an economics major, describing the sport as almost a religious experience for Indians, an obsession that draws families away from the dinner table to watch the televised games.

 

Patel, a nursing major, compared it to Brazilians’ love of soccer and Americans’ love of football.

“If an Indian says he doesn’t know cricket, it’s unacceptable,” said Patel, whose mother was a cricketer in high school, a rarity for Indian females at the time. “It’s in my blood. I have a passion for it.”

The hard ball used in the sport, slightly smaller than a baseball but much harder, provides for a fast game. While the UT Cricket Club’s competitive team is all male (though open to females), there have several women who participate in the club’s noncompetitive games, which use tennis balls.

Vaddiraj compares the game to baseball, but instead of running between four bases, the batter runs straight between two wickets (bases). The ball is bowled (pitched) and if caught in the air, will render the batter out (like with a pop fly).

“One of my aims is getting more American students to come and play,” said Vaddiraj, who along with Ishan plays in the Central Florida Cricket League on a club team. “It’s just a matter of getting them exposed to it.”

The UT Cricket Club meets on Friday and Saturday evenings on the intramural fields on campus. The club can be contacted through its Facebook page as well as by calling Vaddiraj, (763) 447-5936.


Jamie Pilarczyk, Web Writer
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