July 19, 2019 | 87° F

Club sport reaches championship tournament

While many University students are taking a break from school next week, the University Cricket Club will be fighting for a National Championship.

The club sport is sending a team of 13 University students to the American College Cricket Spring Break Championship tournament from March 14-18.

Many teams from universities around the country will also be there, making the field very competitive, said Nisarg Chokshi, captain and president of the team.

“There are a couple of good teams in our group. … We’re hoping to have some good competition,” said Chokshi, a School of Engineering junior.

The team is one of the best college cricket teams in the nation, and hopes to do well this year, he said.

“We are ranked five out of 33  teams [in the nation],” Chokshi said. “We are also the top-ranked team in our tournament group.”

Nearly 30 teams from colleges and universities across the nation will participate in the championship this year, he said. Earlier in the year, all the teams were placed in a group, in which they will play round-robin style during the first round.

“About 29 teams from the United States are going to be at the tournament,” said Udit Patel, vice-captain of the team. “Also, one team from Canada will be participating.”

After the top two teams of each group are determined, the tournament will be played in a single-elimination format, Chokshi said.

“There will be about six teams in each group and [the tournament] will be played knockout style,” he said.

Chokshi is not only a successful college cricket player but an international player as well, said Mohammad Chaudhry, a team member.

“Chokshi has led our team to the [regional] finals before,” said Chaudhry, an Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy junior. “He also plays internationally for the United States national cricket team, so he has a lot of experience.”

Another notable player is Muhammad Ghous, one of the team’s impact players, said Patel, a School of Environmental and Biological Sciences senior.

“He played very well on the team [at the Northeast Championships] and scored about 45 runs,” Patel said.

Cricket is a team sport with two teams of 11 players, Patel said. The main objective of the game, like baseball, is to score more runs than the opponent after participating in an equal number of innings.

Plays start at the pitch, a 22-yard-long area, where one player bowls or throws the ball while another tries to hit the ball and score runs, Patel said.

Running from one side of the pitch to the other scores a run in cricket, he said. Teams can also score runs by knocking balls outside of a boundary in the field.

“Hitting the ball [directly] out of the boundary gives 6 points to your team,” he said. “If the ball hits the ground first, then hits the boundary, it accounts for four runs.”

There are many ways to be called out in cricket, including hitting the stumps — wooden posts that hold the cricket bails, Chokshi said. A bail is a stick that sits on top of the stumps.

“There are about seven ways to get out [when playing cricket],” he said.

Teams must fundraise to get to the tournament, Chokshi said.

“We get our money through fundraisers [during the year],” Chokshi said. “Once Rutgers sees how dedicated we are they help support us with extra funding.”

The team hopes to win at the American College Cricket Spring Break Championship to add onto its success of winning at the regional Northeast Championships this past October, Chokshi said. Members of the team also want to perform well for their other teammates.

“We have five seniors in their last year, so we want to win for them,” Chokshi said. “Our fingers are crossed that we will play well.”

By Richard Conte

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