Oregon club cricket provides sanctuary for international students
For many international students at the University of Oregon, it can be tough to find common ground with classmates. Leaving everything behind to study in a new place is intimidating to say the least.
One of the groups on campus, Oregon club Cricket, is working on bringing international students together through their love of the sport.
“We’re a refuge for people from the Commonwealth,” club treasurer Alex Macfarlan said.
At Oregon, the club partakes in Twenty20 Cricket every Saturday, which is a shorter format than the multi-day events that are commonly seen in international play. Cricket is made up of overs, with each over being six pitches by the bowler. So a game of Twenty20 cricket would consist of 120 pitches by both teams — about three hours of play.
“Because it’s a shorter game, there is more emphasis on trying to smack the ball rather than not get out and defend wickets,” club president Dan Pearce said.
Cricket is also known as “the gentlemen’s game,” with the focus being on sportsmanship and team play.
“There is none of this being red carded kind of thing or being banned,” Pearce said. “There is that respect for authority, your teammates and the opposition — everyone shakes hands.”
Though relatively small, with a core of about eight members, the Cricket club is one of the most diverse groups on campus. Playing one of the most popular sports in the world tends to draw interest, especially from countries that have experienced a British influence.
The team has had players from India, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Jamaica, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, the United Kingdom and the United States.
While the majority of the members are from overseas, the club is focused on recruiting Americans and people who have never played the sport before.
“I find it refreshing to be able to work with top-class players on the same pitch as beginners who are just discovering the game,” Oregon coach Jim Cleavenger said.
Recruiting has been an issue for the Cricket team as they have found most students who go to the club sports nights are already set in what they want to participate in. When they do get people to come out to practice, often, it’s just for the novelty of trying out the sport.
“People have a hard time adapting the technique because it’s a really technical game,” Pearce said. “You kind of have to watch a lot of Cricket, you can’t just come to practice.”
Though it hasn’t caught on with everyone, the Cricket club still serves as a great way for international students to come together.
“Cricket is always that little connection to home,” Pearce said. “Even though we have six countries representing us right now, we all have something in common.”
The common factor is each member’s love of the game.
“The real enjoyment comes because it is a really social game, as well as an interesting and complex one,” Macfarlan said. “You go down on a Saturday and the game may be four or five hours, but you just hang out.”
Follow Christopher Keizur on Twitter @chriskeizur
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