If you walk through the lonely halls of Davis past Gym C at a late enough hour, you might hear the echo of a ball colliding with a bat. Since the RAWC has covered the windows that originally allowed passersby to peek into the forgotten gym, you may not know what sound that is.
Well, it turns out that Gym C is home to UTM’s cricket club, where players gather twice a week for drop-in or organized games playing the game they love in less traditional circumstances.
UTM’s cricket club has existed for over four years now and since its creation has grown in participation of students eager to play a game less popular in North America. Shahriyar Nisar, commissioner and VP finance, is proud of the reception the club has had at UTM.
“The response has been great,” says Nisar, a third-year accounting specialist. “Every year we have had around 80 to 90 people playing in the league.” He adds that students are enthusiastic about the sport and that the playoffs garner crowds to cheer on teams. “For some people, it’s more than just a game—it is a great source of entertainment and an ideal means of relaxation.”
Nisar sees the club as a great way for newcomers to familiarize themselves with the sport and eventually play at a competitive level. “We have pickup cricket on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m.,” he says. “This is where anyone can drop in and play.” It’s at the drop-in sessions that players socialize, learn the game, and form teams for intramurals that play a set schedule during the fall and winter semesters.
The game at UTM is slightly different from traditional cricket play, because it’s played indoors, which Nisar says is due to the weather. But he doesn’t think this hurts the game, but rather makes it “equally amusing, if not more”.
Nisar thinks cricket is a simple enough game that newcomers will be able to grasp rather quickly. In cricket, each team takes a turn to bat and bowl and the team with the most runs in the end wins—somewhat similar to baseball. There is a limit to the number of people who can bat and bowl, and players in the field—or, in the case of UTM, the court—are used to prevent the flow of runs. A batsman can be out for various reasons, but the most common is when a fielder catches the ball.
UTM does have a cricket team that plays against other universities and participates in a tri-campus tournament with other U of T campuses every year.
Nisar hopes that cricket can get more recognition from UTM students and hopes to coordinate events this semester to introduce more students to the sport. The club held games in Gym A/B earlier this year to make the sport more visible to passersby.
Upcoming club events are telecasting the Cricket World Cup, “Stumped” (a cricket quiz game), “Hitz” (testing players’ skills in cricket categories), and, at the end of the semester, the medal and trophy ceremony for intramural players. Members of the club get access to all these events for free, with the fee for membership being $2 per year.
Nisar looks to the future of cricket at UTM and sees many possibilities. For one, greater participation in extramural tournaments. Nisar believes that with the talent at UTM, winning extramurally will come easily.
Another area that he hopes to shed light on is inclusiveness. At the moment, cricket is only open to men; women are only able to participate in special events held by the club, and while participation is not strong, the possibility of a co-ed league would allow more to learn the game.
“We still don’t have the numbers to make intramural cricket co-ed,” says Nisar. “If, at any point in the near future, I believe co-ed intramural cricket is a possibility, I will certainly pitch the idea to UTM Athletics.”
The sign-up for the winter semester took place on January 13, with games beginning January 20. But students can still join a team for the next couple of weeks after this date.
Last semester, eight teams participated with 10 players per team. Nisar is hoping for more teams to participate this semester and thinks the talent this year is promising, especially among the first-years.
With another semester of cricket to be played at UTM, the sport is thriving and looks to be heading in the right direction.