Club Cricket Brings Culture And Success To Penn State
Three or four times a week, you can head out to the West Campus turf and see the eighth best cricket team in the country practicing on a make-shift pitch. This team is Penn State’s very own Club Cricket and much like cricket greats and lovers alike, Club Cricket is dominating the movement to bring this widely loved game to America.
Unlike most clubs and club sports, Club Cricket is something that stands out to some more than any other. Many students find that the clubs and organizations Penn State has to offer are an extra advantage that comes with attending such a large university; to others, like those on the Club Cricket team, the access to such programs is the be-all and end-all factor in deciding their future Alma Mater.
This is just the case for club cricket team member and senior, Shreyansh Jain. “I wouldn’t have come to Penn State if there wasn’t a cricket program,” Jain said. To some, such a statement may seem melodramatic, but his love for the game goes far beyond just wanting to play.
The bat and ball game is the second-most popular sport in the world, falling short only to soccer — or as the rest of the world calls it, football. With 2-3 billion fans worldwide, cricket has created masses of fanatics in some cultures. The sport is predominantly practiced in India, the United Kingdom, Pakistan, Asia, and Australia, yet it has flown under the American radar for years.
Penn State’s diverse student body has founded a number of clubs and organizations based on background, nationality, special interests, and commonalities alike. Penn State’s Club Cricket team, for example, is one that was founded in 2011 based on nothing more than the love for a game that means so much to its founders and the rest of the world.
Four years since its founding, Club Cricket has grown to about 75 members that make up 15 teams. Club Cricket President, Dhruv Patel, attributes the club’s success to nothing more than a grapevine effect. Members of the club are heavily involved in other organizations and clubs, such as cultural organizations, and are able to recruit new team members through word of mouth.
Every year, members have the opportunity to try out to join a 22-person team that travels to compete in the American College Cricket final — a championship brought to the States by cricket greats. Players practice three to four times a week during the fall semester on West Turfs and continue to train in the spring, one to two times a week, in the Multi-Sport Building. The practices and games that players compete in range from pick-up to intramural to intercollegiate, and ultimately, to national collegiate finals.
Last year, Penn State’s cricket team was ranked eighth nationally and the team has hopes to improve that standing in the coming months. For now, the club is training to go to Miami for this year’s American College Cricket final; it is also working with Penn State Athletics to discuss installing a cricket pitch on campus. The installation of a pitch would allow Penn State to join other schools, such as UPenn and Temple, that advocate the expansion of American cricket programs.
Cricket is slowly but surely emerging into mainstream American culture and Penn State’s own team has hit the ground running. Cricket is a sport that has shaped countries and cultures all around the world and with the help of teams like our own and cricket prodigy, Sachin Tendulkar, it may soon be time for another hugely popular pastime to surface in our country, one that so many call home.
For more information on Penn State’s Club Cricket team, visit its Facebook page.
Photos courtesy of Penn State Cricket.
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