Cricket club fills niche on campus
Published: Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, September 19, 2012 01:09
Although it is flourishing with enthusiasts in countries such as India and Pakistan, the sport of cricket is hardly recognized in the United States. Baseball is often considered a close cousin to cricket, a sport that originated in England during the 16th century.
“Cricket is something I have grown up with. It’s pretty much a religion in India,” said Adhithya Rengarajan, president of the Aggie Cricket Club. “Finding out that there is a cricket club [at A&M] is really exciting for people.”
The game of cricket is extremely popular in India. By the end of the 19th century, the sport was intriguing players from all over the country. Whether players are young or old, cricket fuses together a large demographic of active players.
“It is just kind of like a backyard sport when you are young,” Rengarajan said. “You don’t have to be in a league or anything. You just play anywhere.”
In America, baseball is considered to be the country’s pastime. Rarely do Americans even consider the ancient game of cricket when discussing sports, but it shares similar mechanics to those found in baseball.
Aggie Cricket Club has been at A&M since 2002 and became part of American College Cricket in 2011. The team has developed into a group of champions over the years.
“Because of their accomplishments within American College Cricket, when a potential student is making a choice about where they will get their degree and play the game they passionately love, there is no question that Texas A&M will be high on that short list,” said Lloyd Jodah, president of American College Cricket.
The Aggie Cricket Club has been able to utilize its talent in the past couple of years. After winning the Southwest regional championship in January 2012, they became semi-finalists at the 2012 spring break championship in Florida.
“We are currently ranked number three in the country,” said team captain Angad Mehta.
Former teammate, Venkatesh Ravishanker, said the Aggie Cricket Club initially played in the Southwest regional championship with the University of Houston, University of Houston Clearlake, Texas Tech and West Texas A&M. When they advanced to the national championship, the Aggie Cricket Club played teams from all over the country such as Rutgers University and the University of Maryland.
The team has come a long way in the past 10 years. Without much financial support from the University, Aggie Cricket Club put together a winning team with personal funds they worked hard for.
“They perform off the field, manifested in the work they did, including fundraising [in order to] get their own cricket field,” Jodah said.
The Aggie Cricket Club plays at the university apartment grounds. They have been playing there since the club was started in 2002 and they practice on the weekends.
They are currently struggling with funding. According to Rengarajan, the Aggie Cricket Club is only working with membership fees right now to get equipment. However, when it comes to traveling out of state it is hard to get money for 11 or 12 players to go.
By increasing fees, Regarajan said people pull out of the club. He said that A&M has been kind enough to provide funding when they approach the University on a needs basis, that is not always enough to help a team reach its full potential. The club’s main goal this year is to be recognized by The Department of Recreational Sports.
“Texas A&M is a top cricketing university among the national league,” Venkatesh said. “With the right amount of support and funding [A&M] could achieve great success and in the process bring fame to Texas A&M University as a brand.”