International students bring cricket to campus


Photo courtesy of Kaitlin Walker

Kaitlin Walker

Passion and perseverance led international students from India to start the Kent State Cricket Club this semester.

“In India, cricket is a big game. We Indians can’t go without playing it,” said team captain Sainath Reddy Yasani, a graduate student majoring in digital science. 

Although this is only the first semester, the cricket club has 33 officially registered members, but they have a much larger following.

A number of students on Kent’s campus have been playing cricket for fun for a few semesters, though they recently took the next step of establishing a club. Before, pick-up games and small tournaments were played near College Towers.

“We love this game so we were never worried about the field or where we played,” said Mahiteja Reddy Kalicheti, a graduate student studying digital sciences as well as president and founder of the cricket club.

Starting the team was a difficult feat due to the majority of students having on-campus jobs and little free time. After losing their first match though, many members put their jobs aside and focused more on the team.

Organized under Recreational Services, the cricket club competes against other university club teams in American College Cricket and through the Center for Student Involvement, where they play in private tournaments.

Though the team’s season is officially over after losing a match this past Saturday, the players are hopeful about next year and expect the team to improve their record of 5-4.

The cricket team was partially sponsored by the dean of Kent State’s Graduate Studies by purchasing two bats and supplying the $500 entry fee for American College Cricket.

Recreational Services provided uniforms for the players. The team was also supported and encouraged by Greg Bailey, the assistant director of Recreational Services.

Although the cricket team consisted of all international Indian graduate students this past season, they said they hope to expand in the next to season to include a more diverse group of undergraduates and graduates. 

“We are trying to get undergrads from all countries…and (let) everyone (know) we have a cricket team,” Yasani said. “If they don’t know the game, we are here to help them.”

International student affairs director Eron Memaj serves as the cricket club’s advisor, along with other international groups including the Kent State International Mentors, International Women’s Group and the Iranian Student Association. Memaj said he enjoys helping and guiding international students as much as possible.

Kaitlin Walker is the international reporter for The Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].