Monday, August 19, 2019
News, analysis and commentary by UBC Journalism students

Cricket at UBC: A league of their own

In elementary school, my classmates and I played glove baseball. Since we (sensibly) weren’t allowed to bring bats to school,…

Farid Khan waits for the bowler to deliver the next ball.

In elementary school, my classmates and I played glove baseball.

Since we (sensibly) weren’t allowed to bring bats to school, we created a with what we had available: gloves. Lots of gloves. Home plate was a glove. The bases were gloves. Most importantly, our bats were gloves. We swung them just like they were bats.

It worked well. We played glove baseball for years, each season beginning . Without bat substitutes, there would’ve been no baseball. So, we improvised.

Which brings me to cricket.

Omar Zaman keeps wickets and texts messages.

If you wander past at on a Wednesday or Friday afternoon, you can find 20 or more students playing cricket.

The cricketers, almost exclusively from , play on a field bisected by an asphalt pathway. Either side of the asphalt are grass fields. They bowl with a . They bat with authentic willow bats. No one wears pads.

These games started few years ago and have steadily grown. With a bat and a makeshift set of stumps, Edwin Gershom, a fifth-year PhD biochemistry student from Mumbai, and his roommate started playing in the summer of 2006, just the two of them.

“There was only one person to do all the fielding, which was tough,” said Gershom.

At first, passersby joined in. Games occurred randomly. Now, there’s a with over 85 members. Lead organizer, Farid Khan, a third-year mechanical engineering PhD student from , sends out notices of games.

Their field is hardly ideal. There’s a parking lot on the right, residence buildings and dense bushes on the left and a streetlight in the middle of the pitch. The straightaway boundary is a road and fielders nearly careen into traffic. And the most used part of the field is asphalt not grass.

But they make do.

Photo by 'foxypar4', © Flickr 2010, courtesy Creative Commons

“It works okay for the kind of cricket we are playing,” said Gershom.

It’s also not unfamiliar for most of the cricketers. In alleys and along roads, kids in India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka grow up . Prasanna Raviraj, a second year MBA student from , said until he went to university, he only played street cricket.

“On any weekend, you can see all kinds of kids filling up the streets playing cricket,” said Raviraj.

The UBC tape ball cricket mirrors the rise of this improvised version .

Street instead of grass or glove instead of bat, kids find ways to play the sports they love, no matter where they live.