The University of Chicago cricket club had a very strong outing this weekend, winning decisively against Northwestern University by 48 runs. This win brought the Maroons’ record to 3–1 against the Wildcats over the course of the year.
Cricket is a sport that is growing by leaps and bounds every day in the United States and specifically, UChicago. This is reflected by the impressive stature of the cricket club in which anyone from the graduate or undergraduate divisions can take part. Even then, cricket is a sport that does not have that large a following in the States. But, although the club is predominantly international students, there has been active participation from people of other sporting backgrounds, highlighting the inclusivity and reach of the club. Normally, the club meets up at Stagg Field every Saturday from 3–6 p.m. if the weather is nice. Otherwise, the play is shifted to Henry Crown Field House. The members usually play short matches of 6–8 overs within themselves. But, on occasion, they play other schools like Northwestern in competitive matches.
First-year Kahaan Shah has been pleasantly surprised by the prevalence of the cricket club at UChicago, commenting, “I’ve found the cricket culture at UChicago a very inclusive…experience built around having fun. I was truly surprised by the extent to which I have an opportunity to play a game I love, in Chicago, in the U.S. I did not expect it before I started my first year.”
The game against Northwestern is a great step forward for this burgeoning club. Even though the Maroons lost the toss and were put into bat, they produced a masterful batting performance with a score of 103/4 in 18 overs. Star performers included Shah, who scored 35 runs, while second-years Adarsh Kumar and Rutvij Bhise chipped in with 28 and 27 runs respectively. In response, Northwestern had no answer to the great bowling and energetic fielding of the South Siders. The Maroons rampaged through Northwestern’s batting lineup and got them all out for 55. The great fielding was highlighted by two run outs and a great diving catch from Bhise to dismiss star Northwestern batsmen Arjun Jaykrishna. This game was also really special because it was the last game for team captain and club president Milind Harish.
Even with Harish leaving, the only way for the club is upward, as it wants to transition into a more competitive club playing more games against other universities. Speaking on the club’s future plans, Shah remarked, “I think the biggest thing we need to do in the future is to start playing more universities and more games. Eventually, hopefully we can start participating in leagues as a hard ball team. But to do so, we need more participation from players who are willing to come out often and have fun but also try and get better. We already have plans to travel to Ohio State next year and that would be the first time we’ve traveled outside the Chicagoland.”