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Cricket Gets Some Respect (Again)

A popular sport abroad climbs out of baseball’s shadow here

| From BU Today | By Joe Chan

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In the video above, members of the BU Cricket Club describe how cricket is played and what makes it so different from baseball. Photos by Chitose Suzuki

When it comes to intercollegiate sports, cricket has been there and back—literally. In the late 19th century, teams from Harvard, Princeton, the University of Pennsylvania, and Columbia played regularly scheduled games as members of the Intercollegiate Cricket Association. Then came the 20th century, and cricket, once the national game of the United States, was pushed aside by a popular new sport called baseball. Now, thanks largely to students from South Asia, South Africa, and the West Indies, cricket is back on campuses across the country.

At BU, the 10-year-old Cricket Club is growing strong, playing under the auspices of American College Cricket, which has 68 member universities.

Club president Hayat Khan (SAR’14) says the club plays most weekends in the fall, and most of the competition is local. So far this year, the team has played Harvard twice, as well as Northeastern, Rutgers, and Long Island University, which is in Brooklyn, where, coincidentally, Khan grew up playing cricket with many immigrants from the West Indies. At BU, he says, most of the team hails from Pakistan and India, although some of their best players are Americans who had never played (or even had seen) cricket before coming to campus.

“We have a lot of beginners in our club, people who were born here, as well as people from China and Japan, where there’s no cricket at all,” says Pauvin Patel (ENG’08), a member of the team since 2004.

Khan says he hopes the growing popularity of cricket will persuade the NCAA to sanction the sport, which would lend it the respect it enjoys in many other countries.

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