|In their first semester of intercollegiate competition, Dickinson's cricketers lost their three matches by a close margin.
When the Dickinson Cricket Club takes the field, people can’t help but notice. Joggers stop mid-stride to stare, spectators migrate over from the sidelines of other sporting events. “We always draw a crowd because no one’s ever seen the game before,” explains club member Shawn Nanan ’07.
Cricket, Dickinson’s newest club sport, may look absurd to spectators unfamiliar with the game. Like baseball, there is a hitting team and a fielding team, and the objective is to score as many runs as possible within a given number of innings. But the similarities end there.
Cricketers use paddle-shaped bats to hit the rock-hard red leather ball; they can score a dozen runs in a single at-bat, and they play positions with nonsensical names like “short square leg” and “silly mid off.” To some observers, America’s national pastime seems mundane when compared to the captivating world of cricket.
This globally loved game is still relatively obscure in the United States. But in keeping with its creed to maintain a cutting-edge global perspective, Dickinson now joins a small number of U.S. colleges and universities that embrace this international game.
It’s a sport that club founder and co-captain Abhishek Kedia ’07 has been playing for longer than he can remember. “I really didn’t want to be away from cricket, even though I was away from India,” he recalls.
Kedia sought to create a cricket club as a first-year student, but Dickinson had not yet become as internationally diverse as it is today. “It really wasn’t possible then,” he explains, “but over the next three years, Dickinson did a good job recruiting more international students.”
By last fall, the number of Dickinsonians with a background in cricket had grown considerably and roughly a dozen students had begun practicing on a regular basis. After a year of pickup practices using a tennis ball, Kedia and the other co-captain, Navneet Garodia ’07, decided it was time to kick things up a notch. The pair contacted Director of Athletics Les Poolman about forming an official cricket club and were met with a wealth of support and enthusiasm.
Poolman, a die-hard cricket fan originally from England, played the game for the first 20-some years of his life. He jumped at the chance to help bring his athletic passion into the Dickinson community.
In just several days’ time, Poolman approved Kedia’s and Garodia’s request to form a club and supplied the athletes with funds from the recreational sports budget to tide them over until they could gain recognition from Student Senate.
“Dr. Poolman has been so supportive,” Kedia says. “Because he has a diverse background, he has been able to support a diverse sport. And that’s what Dickinson is all about.”
The Dickinson Cricket Club is now 20 men strong with members hailing from countries that include Nepal, Pakistan, India, Trinidad and Tobago and the United States. The eclectic bunch envisions a successful future for the club with initiatives that could include “traveling to tournaments in Harrisburg, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia,” as well as eventually “hosting a tournament here at Dickinson,” says Kedia.
Nanan agrees with Kedia’s prediction of success, saying, “With the rate of international students coming to Dickinson, we’re definitely going to be able to keep this going for a long time.”