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OSU cricket team hopes to gain popularity

The world’s second-most popular sport is not football or basketball. It is cricket, and Ohio State has its own club team.

The OSU cricket club has been in existence since 1991. It has 35 active members and competes during the fall, spring and summer seasons. Active members include students and alumni, who play together.

Even though the club is all male, there are two female members who are allowed to practice, but not compete.

“There are not enough female members to make it a whole separate team,” said Romel Somavat, president of the OSU cricket club.

Somavat, who has been president of the club for the last two years, has been playing with the team for four years.

“Besides for the cricket team, I played in the club volleyball team as well,” Somavat said.

For Somavat, playing cricket when he arrived at OSU from India was an obvious choice of activity.

“For an Indian, there is no surprise in playing cricket. Everyone starts playing when they are little. Cricket is taking over there,” he said.

Like Somavat, the majority of the cricket club have been playing since they were children. There are about three or four members who are true beginners to the sport.

Like many of the club teams at OSU, the cricket team receives funding from a variety of sources.

“I have not received money from the [Department of Recreational Sports], but I am expecting money from them since we just returned from nationals. However, we do get funding from hosting tournaments and collecting dues from members,” Somavat said.

Student members pay $60 in club dues, and alumni members pay $120. Not only does the club collect dues from members, but it hosts at least one tournament during Fall Quarter and one during Spring Quarter. At their Spring Quarter tournament at Fred Beekman Park, there were 38 teams and more than 400 participants. They raised $2,500.

Any money the club receives, whether from dues or tournaments, goes to team equipment, travel fees, uniforms and other club expenses.

With practices that last up to three hours and tournaments that run for one to seven days, the cricket team stays busy.

“At least one day a week, we focus on cardio and physical fitness. Then, the rest of the days, we focus on different skills used in cricket, like batting,” Somavat said.

The team attended a spring break national cricket tournament in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., at Central Broward Regional Park from March 17-21.

“We were very happy to have a huge sports name like the Ohio State in the American College Cricket Spring Break Championship,” said Lloyd Jodah, president of American College Cricket. “The Trojans actually requested they be scheduled to play the Buckeyes in the first round. Perhaps next year, the USC and OSU cricket clubs will face each other in the final four.”

The tournament consisted of 20 teams from places such as Canada and the West Indies that competed against each other in a bracket-type conference.

“We had a mixed result [at the tournament] with two wins and two losses, one against the tournament winner York University,” Somavat said.

Even though the OSU cricket club plays all over the Midwest, they are not well-known at OSU. Cricket clubs at other universities seem to have the same problem.

“Being at a big university like Ohio State, we expect more support because there are a lot of local cricket teams in Columbus alone and over 25 teams in Ohio,” Somavat said.

However, Somavat believes that with the help of a large university such as OSU, cricket can gain more attention.

“In the near future, cricket will gain college sport status,” he said. “It just needs some help.” 

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