Rutgers cricket club ranks third in national listings
Moving up five spaces on national listings, the Rutgers University Cricket Club is now ranked third from its previous spot in eighth place.
RUCC won the regional tournament for the North East Championship and went to nationals in Tampa, Florida, during spring break. They competed against 25 other teams and played about one or two games on a daily basis. The games were broadcast live on ESPNC and later on TV Asia.
Yatin Tuteja, president of the RUCC, grew up playing cricket in India. When he came to America in 2008, he found the sport was scarcely played. This fueled his decision to apply to Rutgers when he found the University had a cricket team.
“I still loved that sport, so I wanted to come here and become a part of the team,” said Tuteja, a School of Engineering junior.
Cricket is the second-most popular sport in the world, right behind soccer, according to ESPN. The playing field is an oval, grassy space about 450 to 500 feet in diameter.
At least 11 players are present on the fielding team, two for the batting team and two umpires during a cricket game. Each team has a 12th player who poses as an alternate. The batting team members are called batsmen. The fielding team members, who bowl the ball, are called bowlers.
Two batsmen are present at any given time. They try to hit the ball after it is bowled and then switch positions. The batsman facing the bowler is called the striker, and the batsman standing away from the pitch is the non-striker. The goal is to score runs at bat and overs on the field.
Tuteja had been team captain for his high school track team, a feat recognized by the prior president. Tuteja said the president believed he could take over the role due to the similar responsibilities.
The team holds two-hour practices on the weekend and occasionally during the week if enough members are available. The practices are always held in either North Brunswick or Sayreville, Tuteja said.
“Everyone is really motivated to practice and get better for the tournaments,” Tuteja said. “We have been working very hard.”
Although most players have some background experience, it is not required to try out for the team, said Udit Patel, vice captain of RUCC.
“We’ve already had four to five people try out without knowing what cricket was about,” said Patel, School of Environmental and Biological Sciences senior.
He joined the team in 2010 and helped the team in Florida.
Dhanraj Rathod, vice president of RUCC, joined the team in the fall of 2012, but he said the experience was intimidating at first. He left after 10 minutes of try-outs because he thought the team was far too big, and he did not recognize anyone.
“I’m kind of a shy person,” said Rathod, Newark College of Arts and Sciences senior. “I didn’t tell anyone I was leaving. [The captain] called me and said, ‘Hey Dhanraj! Why did you leave?”
The captain encouraged Rathod to attend the next practice, and he soon found the community welcoming.
Despite the large roster of the club, RUCC lacks sufficient funds every season. The University allots the team $1,000, but the fee for the regional tournament is $500, and the fee for the national tournaments is $400, Rathod said. The leftover money is not enough to sustain the team.
“Every player donates $200 to the club. We try to keep the club running,” he said.
RUCC holds a Super Six Tournament to fundraise. Six to eight teams compete during the spring semester, Tuteja said.
The club posts practice schedules and events on their Facebook page. They keep in touch by collecting every teammate’s NetID and using Sakai to send messages to one another.
“I try to make sure everybody knows that it’s not just a team,” Rathod said. “It’s a family.”