Once a year, the Kalamazoo Area Mathematics and Science Center hosts a cricket tournament for its students.
Physics instructor Mike Sinclair is the team’s unofficial coach. He says he got the idea for a tournament after watching a club lacrosse team.
“And I thought to myself, ‘Ok. Lacrosse is a club sport. What kind of sports would be appropriate for KAMSC students?’ Cause we’re—I don’t know if you want to use the term properly—but we’re kind of nerd-ish, very bright science and math oriented students. And I thought you know the ideal game for us would be a game that is obscure and unknown to people in America, but known around the world. Because KAMSC is known reasonably well in Kalamazoo, but extremely well known in colleges around the state and around the country.”
Sinclair says cricket is kind of like a slower game of baseball, but there are a few differences. Instead of bases, batters run back and forth between the wickets to score runs. The pitcher or “bowler” has to throw with a straight arm and the ball is allowed to bounce before it’s hit. Players catch the ball with their bare hands and Sinclair says, as long as you don’t get out, you can pretty much bat as long as you want.
Sinclair says before the tournament, most KAMSC students never played cricket in their life. But for others, the tournament is a chance to play a sport that they usually only share with friends and family overseas.
“I played in Pakistan when I was younger," says Jawad Aqeel. "Whenever I go to visit my family we play over there. Like we go for a month, so I play like for that whole month because we can’t really play it here.”
You’ll find even more experienced players on the sidelines. Some of the parents grew up playing cricket.
“It’s still a popular game and especially the game between India and Pakistan—oh my goodness. It’s a big day," says Sadira Nadeem. "Everybody’s staying home, all the men and women in front of the TV they watch this game.”
KAMSC parent Sudhakar Medepalli says cricket has grown a lot from where it started in the 18th century English countryside. In addition to the main leagues, many countries now have regional teams too.
“Apparently, this was news to me too, I found out that the first international game that America played was cricket with Canada," says Medepalli. "So it was the first match between Canada and America.”
Coach Mike Sinclair says he hopes to one day host a tournament against the other three math and science centers in the area.
“And then maybe after that who knows? You know lacrosse was a club sport for a long time, many many high schools are now playing it. So, maybe in the course of the next decade cricket will become another club sport within the state of Michigan,” he says.
Genevieve Sertic is the captain of women’s cricket team. No matter what happens to cricket in the state, she says the event will always be a big part of KAMSC.
“We’re a pretty unique team and it’s pretty cool just to be a part of this," she says. "This is part of I think the KAMSC tradition and you know it’s part of what makes KAMSC unique.”
This year’s Kalamazoo Area Mathematics and Science Center cricket tournament is over. But KAMSC students can learn more about cricket by attending the club meeting on October 15th at the KAMSC Presentation Center.