Lawrence University Cricket Organization ready for second year

Adam Cox

It seems that most Americans have heard of cricket, but very few – besides those who play for our national team – know how to play it. The complexity of the rules, the bizarre scoring system and the enormous shin-pads give the game an air of mystery and intrigue that few of us are able to get past. This makes the Lawrence University Cricket Organization – LUCO for short – both educational and recreational.
LUCO is a brand new student organization. Although the idea of starting a cricket club on campus originated last year, junior Aamir Mir said there just weren’t enough people interested in the idea for it to be feasible.
However, with the fall arrival of some enterprising freshmen – especially Vishvesh Subramanian and Aimen Khan, who were a real driving force – the group finally had the numbers and the impetus to apply for formal status.
LUCO now has about 20 dedicated members, who used LUCC funds to purchase equipment and began playing pick-up games every Saturday, with walk-in interest welcome.
“So far, we’ve pretty much just been teaching people how to play,” said Mir, now president of LUCO. “We were playing in the Rec Center, but we moved to the quad so people could see us and join in. A lot of people have stopped by to play.”
If you’re still dubious, here’s a little bit of background. Cricket is played on a large oval-shaped field with a rectangular pitch in the middle, on each end of which stands a waist-high wicket.
Like baseball, one team fields while the other bats, though unlike baseball, the fielding players take turns bowling – pitching – to the batter. In a typical game, each team gets one chance at fielding and one chance at batting.
The batter scores points by hitting the ball or running between the wickets after a hit is made. He can get “out” if a fielder catches his hit or if he allows the bowler to hit the wicket with the ball. Technicalities abound, but in essence, cricket is about throwing, hitting and catching balls – like most sports.
So why do so many Americans have no idea what it is? Here’s a possibility: because it originated in Britain, cricket is currently most popular in former British colonies like India and Australia.
The lengthy nature of a cricket match may also contribute to the sport’s comparative obscurity in this country. Compared to a televised soccer match, which lasts just under two hours, or a baseball game, which runs for about three hours, cricket matches make greater demands on viewers’ patience. Consider the implications of the following popular formats: “one-day cricket” and “five-day cricket.”
However, a new form of cricket has recently been introduced. It is called “20-20,” or T-20, and it lasts just three to four hours per game. This new model makes the sport more marketable, and seems destined to win greater attention from the American public. An exhibition match between New Zealand and Sri Lanka was held on United States soil for the first time, and it met with widespread excitement and approval.
Cricket is slowly gaining popularity in the U.S., and LUCO’s members are hoping to use this momentum to propel their group forward. Mir says that by now they have enough players to field a full team, and they have already been invited to tournaments at other universities, like Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. Next year, with regular practices, they may be able to compete.
One of LUCO’s biggest investments this year was the purchase of an artificial pitch made of jute. This is a large rectangular mat, which in the future the players hope to be able to move to Whiting Field for practices during fall and spring terms.
Using the larger field would be extremely important for the team, because it would allow them to begin practicing with – instead of a tennis ball – a ball of regulation size and hardness, the use of which is a prerequisite for participation in other tournaments.
Though LUCO has finished its official meetings for the year, you may still see them out on a sunny day, and if you’re lucky, perhaps you’ll get to bowl.