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Cricket makes its way into the St. John’s community

On+Oct.+16%2C+the+International+Olympic+Committee+added+cricket+to+the+2028+Summer+Olympics+which+will+be+held+in+Los+Angeles.+Played+by+both+men+and+women%2C+the+game+will+be+in+the+T-20+format.%C2%A0
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On Oct. 16, the International Olympic Committee added cricket to the 2028 Summer Olympics which will be held in Los Angeles. Played by both men and women, the game will be in the T-20 format. 

Sophomore Suman Muppavarapu’s childhood revolved around cricket. Growing up in Vijayawada, India, for eight years, Muppavarapu spent many afternoons watching and playing the sport. 

Often compared to baseball, cricket is popular primarily in Australia, India, Pakistan, England, parts of Africa and the Caribbean. 

After hitting the ball, players run between two wickets, similar to bases in baseball, gaining one point for each successful run. If the ball hits any of the wickets placed behind the batter, the batter is out. If the ball travels beyond the boundaries, the team scores six points (“a sixer”); if it hits the two-foot wall that surrounds the playing field, the team scores four points and if a batter strikes the ball and runs to the opposite end of the pitch, the team scores one point. 

Overs—similar to an inning—determine the length of the game, which can last several hours or even days since there is no set time limit.

Growing up, “everyone was really into cricket,” Muppavarapu said. “My friends looked up to cricket players. They collected cricket cards, and everyone went to the games.” 

Muppavarapu’s move to the U.S. in 2016 also meant leaving cricket behind. Without the avid culture, he slowly lost passion for the sport. 

“I’m not really interested in watching it anymore,” Muppavarapu said. “I’d much rather play, but I obviously can’t here.” 

A couple of years ago, cricket was an obscure sport in America, yet now in 2023, its popularity has skyrocketed across the United States. Being the second most popular sport in the world (behind soccer), cricket has 2.5 billion fans around the world. 

Cricket was introduced to the U.S. through British colonization before the U.S. Civil War. However, Americans felt a greater sense of national pride for baseball, which overshadowed the foreign sport. 

On Oct. 16, the International Olympic Committee added cricket to the 2028 Summer Olympics, which will be held in Los Angeles. Played by both men and women, the game will be in the T-20 format. 

In an interview with AP News, Cricket Australia Chief Executive Nick Hockley predicts it to be revolutionary for a “sport that is already among the fastest growing in the world.”

Although it is not the national sport of India and Pakistan, cricket is popular throughout South Asia.

“Even if you are not interested, you just have to know it,” sponsor of South Asian Affinity Group Neha Mathur said. “As soon as you are born, it’s the first thing you learn.”

Growing up in India, Mathur lived in a “government colony,” a community that provided free housing for doctors and their families. Since TVs were rare, she would play cricket in the streets with her brothers and neighbors until it was too dark to see.

These moments created an indelible bond between Mathur and her childhood cricket friends that lasts to this day. 

“We’ve all grown up, and we’re in different parts of the world,” Mathur said. “But we still talk about that time where there were no TVs–just cricket.” 

On June 16, the Major Cricket League kicked off its inaugural season in the T-20 format with 90 players on six teams (Seattle, Dallas, Washington D.C., Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco). T-20 consists of 20 overs (120 balls) per team. Introduced by the England and Wales Cricket Board in 2003, T-20 shortened games from eight hours to three hours, improving hitting, bowling and fielding. 

On March 19, Houston hosted the draft at the Johnson Space Center. Pakistani-American businessman Tanweer Ahmed is building the country’s largest cricket complex with 14 fields across 84 acres in Prairie View, 50 miles northwest of Houston. Ahmed chose the location due to the growing population of Pakistani and Indian immigrants in Houston, many of whom are already part of local cricket clubs. 

“It’s coming into this country because it’s our pastime,” Mathur said. “It brings us closer together as a community.”

When she was younger, senior Diya Kodgire fell in love with cricket, watching games in the Indian Premier League (IPL) and playing fantasy cricket. Wanting to spend more time with her dad, Kodgire would wake up at 3 a.m. to watch the games in India.

Four out of the six cricket teams in the MCL will be affiliated by IPL teams: Mumbai Indians, Chennai Super Kings, Delhi Capitals and Kolkata Knight Riders. The other two teams will be funded by the New South Wales Cricket team and Cricket Victoria, both from Australia. 

In 2015, Minute Maid Park hosted its first T-20 style cricket match, creating a greater fan base in the city.

“If we have a team for Houston, I would 110% go to a game,” Kodgire said.

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Aien Du
Aien Du, Online Section Editor
Aien Du ('26) joined The Review in 2022 as a freshman. She loves fashion and the color pink. Autocorrect changes her name to Alien.
Riya Nimmagadda
Riya Nimmagadda, Copy Editor
Riya Nimmagadda ('26) joined The Review in 2022 as a freshman.  She can probably finish a TV show in a day and she has a weird fear of cotton balls.

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