By Grant McDonald
A few days before his first day of classes at Ryerson, Abhimanyu Sharma wandered the halls of Ryerson looking for a cricket team to join.
He found one – with 117 members.
“When I came here, cricket was present, but it was pretty pathetic,” admits Sharma.
Now in his fourth-year, Sharma is president of the Ryerson Student Cricket Association, which has grown to 605 players, making it likely the most popular sport at Ryerson. Shama feels the sport has helped bring together students who come from differrent backgrounds, specifically students from India and Pakistan.
“Cricket has given us a common platform where we can come together. It is more than a sport. It is a tool of peace.”
“It’s in my blood,” he says, adding that past generations of his family have all taken a swing at the sport.
Ravi Gopal works in the admissions office at Ryerson, but he is the man who actually ignited the sport at this university.
“I am the founder of cricket at Ryerson,” Gopal proclaims.
Even though he’s retiring this year, he will continue to be involved with cricket at Ryerson. In fact, he said that now that he is retired, he’ll be able to focus more on the sport.
“This is a solid foundation, it is the strongest year (for cricket),” Gopal said.
“It’s by far one of the best sports out there in the world. You get to meet friends and different people from different races and get to mingle with them,” says second-year business student Faisal Hussain.
For many of the players, the sport makes them feel at home.
First-year business student Moid Bari started playing cricket when he was four. He says the game is more like a religion to him.
Despite cricket’s world-wide popularity, the sport itself remains a mystery to most North Americans, who only know it as “that British version of baseball.”
In cricket, there are 11 players on each team. The fielding side has all 11 players in the field, while there are only two players from the batting team. One is at the striking end, while another is at the opposite end of the field.
One player from the field is the bowler (the pitcher-esque position). He throws the ball trying to hit stumps, called wickets, behind the batsman.
To score, the batter must hit the ball and run to the opposite end of the pitch, exchanging places with the other batsmen.. If the ball lands inbounds and rolls out of bounds four runs are scored. If the ball does not touch the ground on its way out, six runs are scored.
Each team has one inning in the regular (and more popular) day-long international game. An inning ends with ten batsmen out.
Sharma and his fellow players play Monday evenings at 4 p.m. in the Upper Gym.