Two first-year students, Viren Tuli ‘22 and Vaibhav Pandey ‘22, have launched the newest addition to Wheaton club sports in the form of the second most popular game on the planet: Cricket.
Tuli said that It’s an idea that has been brewing since early August. Although back then, it was just something they casually talked about. Since then, the developing club has made considerable progress, getting their constitution confirmed and surpassing the minimum required number of members. Technically, the club is still just an interest group, as it requires a three-month period before the group can be confirmed as an official club sport, but the founders have high hopes for the future of the club.
The next step, Tuli said, is to find more members, as cricket is played with 11 people on the field. “Right now,” Tuli explained, “the people I’ve spoken to are very interested, but that’s only about eight to nine people, including those who were apart of the founding members.” This includes about five people who have never played cricket before.
Despite the relative obscurity of cricket in the U.S., there is some serious local competition nearby Wheaton. Tuli cited Boston University, Northeastern, and Harvard as all having strong cricket teams – giving Wheaton the opportunity for some local scrimmages. Even more importantly, Boston University was one of the founding members of the American College Cricket(ACC), which holds a massive competition on its campus each year.
Instead of immediately joining the ACC, Tuli says that they plan to spend most of the first year playing each other. “I want the people to actually learn the sport properly,” said Tuli. “I don’t want them to just come in and get destroyed by the other teams.” The club’s first meetings will likely focus on going over rules, strategies, and possibly even watching games. Then, practices will be held in the Haas Fieldhouse.
Regardless of the slow beginning, the new Cricket Club has a lot to offer Wheaton College. “It’s a great sport where people learn teamwork, improve their concentration, and develop themselves as better human beings,” said Pandey. “By introducing cricket at Wheaton, we plan to bring diversity and the culture of the Eastern world to America itself.”
Tuli pointed out that there are many people at Wheaton from countries that play cricket, such as India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. For some of these people, Pandey explained, this game “is considered a religion; and it’s a sport which is very close to my heart. So by bringing this sport to Wheaton, I, along with many other people, will feel more included in the community.”
The club is looking to start recruiting new members next month, and hopes for players of any experience level. “Not only will people from countries who play the sport come together and play a sport they love,” said Tuli, “but other people who haven’t played the sport at all can come learn an incredible new game.”