The sports scene at Purdue is quiet during the summer months, but not gone altogether.
While most students head home for the summer, study abroad or get an internship, the members of the club cricket team stay to play the sport they love.
Cricket, which dates back to the 16th century, is a common stick-and-ball game throughout the world. From the sport’s origins in southeast England, it spread as the British Empire spread around the world. Although a relatively unusual sport in the United States, cricket is one of the most popular in the world.
According to the Purdue cricket club’s vice captain, Kaushik Muralidharan, a doctoral student in the College of Science, all of the members come from the Indian subcontinent, one of the areas of the world where the sport is most common. Many of Purdue’s players have been playing their whole lives.
“If there is one sport I’ve played and followed my whole life, it’s cricket,” said Rishav Roy, a doctoral student in the College of Engineering.
At first glance, cricket appears to have similarities to baseball, a sport that Americans are more familiar with. But Purdue’s cricket players cite few similarities.
“It’s definitely different (from baseball),” said Aaditya Candadai, a third-year doctoral student in the College of Engineering. “It looks similar, but it’s definitely much different.”
Candadai, who has been playing since he was about 10 years old, is in his first summer playing with Purdue’s team. The experience, so far, has been great.
“Summer is a good time to play because for six months we have to play indoors,” he said.
Weather is one of the difficulties of playing in Indiana, according to a number of the players.
During the fall, winter and early spring, the cricket team has been confined to the Armory for practice. With recent questions surrounding the future of the Armory, the cricket team doesn’t know how they will go about competing in the colder months.
For now, they are enjoying the opportunity to compete not only while it’s warm out, but while they have more time.
“Summer is the best time to play because we don’t have many classes,” Roy said.
According to Muralidharan, most of the players are doctoral students or master’s students who conduct research in the summer.
All of the players emphasized how close they become.
“You make a lot of friends,” Muralidharan said. “One of our players is an undergrad and I’m a PhD student, and I would have never met him if it weren’t for cricket.”
According to a number of the players, these friendships, along with the team aspect of the sport, make it a lot more fun to play.
“It’s a team sport, and how you assess every part of the game is as a team,” Roy said. He specified that assessing other teams’ strengths and weaknesses, your own team and the field are all parts of the sport that he enjoys.
His teammate expressed an appreciation for how much teamwork plays into cricket.
“Different people have different roles, and how that comes together against another team, it’s basically a test of everyone’s skills,” Candadai said.
Off the field, the team is close as well.
“After hours of practice (on Tuesdays and Thursdays), we usually all go home and have dinner together,” Roy said.
Roy and Candadai said the team followed along with the 2019 Cricket World Cup, which recently ended. They said it was one of the best cricket matches in recent history.
The team practices twice a week for at least two hours and has competed in the Midwest Cricket Tournament already this summer.
Team members are preparing for another series of games in the back end of the summer, where they will travel around Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky to play other club teams.
The team’s biggest tournaments come in the fall season, Muralidharan said. They look forward to seeing what players return and who will join once the semester begins.