Cricket brings culture to San Ramon

The unique sport unifies Cal students and brings joy


Photo courtesy of Shreyas Putana

The young bowler prepares to bowl by running up the pitch while the batter prepares to hit the ball. People of all ages can be found playing cricket in San Ramon and throughout the Bay Area as the sport becomes more popular in America.

Kathir Rajesh Kannan, Staff Writer

Many traditional American sports such as baseball, track and field, and tennis are in full bloom now that spring is here.
But one of the world’s most recognized sports can also be seen gaining popularity around this time of the year. The sport? Cricket.
Cricket is one of the oldest sports in the world, originating in England in the 16th century. It often draws comparisons to baseball, despite having various differences in play that the sport displays.
“Cricket has been increasing in [popularity] in San Ramon and our school has seen some growth as well,” junior Shreyas Putanae said.
Shreyas, who has played competitive cricket for San Ramon Cricket association since 2018, describes his experience with playing cricket as exhilarating and exciting.
“I got into cricket after watching the 2011 World Cup.” Putane said. “After watching the final I really got into the sport and wanted to play it professionally. Just the excitement with the sport and not knowing what may happen and really playing with the people I love really makes me love my sport. The connections I have made with the people through this sport has made me love it as well.”
In general it seems that the sport is also becoming more well known.
“[In] San Ramon itself, more people are joining cricket seeing us play and their parents play in parks and other areas,” Putane said. “Investments coming from India also play a role in allowing cricket to expand its popularity.”
Cricket has seen its fair share of growth in San Ramon, especially among Cal High students.
“Although Cal High is just a small sample size, people definitely know much more about the sport now compared to five years ago,” said senior Nirav Rawal, who plays for the San Ramon Cricket Association.
Cricket usually requires 11 players on each team with each player having a different role, whether it comes to batting, bowling or being in the field.
The major difference between cricket and baseball is the dimensions of a cricket field. While baseball has certain areas where the ball can’t be hit, cricket has open areas, 360 degrees around the field offering more freedom to the batsmen.
The game has an “offense” where players try to score as many runs as possible by hitting the ball and running between the two bases, commonly known as wickets, that are 22 yards apart in the middle of the field.
The dimensions of the field also have boundaries which can see the team scoring four runs if crossed, or six runs if the ball is hit, and goes directly over the boundaries.
The “defense” bowls balls to the team, preventing them from scoring as much as they can and also can get them out in many different ways, such as catching, hitting the wickets with the ball when the batsmen try to steal a run after they hit the ball, or hitting their wickets when the ball is bowled.
The sport’s biggest league, the Indian Premier League (IPL), also takes place attracting most viewers out of any other cricketing event. The IPL features some of the most exciting, enjoyable, and entertaining moments that the sport has to offer. The different teams battling it out to every last run makes the tournament to be the event each and every year.
The IPL has been synonymous with the Indian summer to have a large advertisement on the fans as well, to make the league even more dynamic.
As the 2023 league kicks off with the matches taking place all over India, we get a wider variety of games with how they could end, making each moment noteworthy.
Even here in San Ramon IPL viewership is very popular. Especially among students at Cal High.
“[The] IPL is interesting because each team represents a different geographic culture of India, which causes the Indian population to unite over cricket with their respected team spirit,” senior Yuvraj Narwal said. “A variety of international players are also added to the teams to diversify the team rosters. Seeing players from different backgrounds come overseas to represent different Indian teams is very astonishing. The games are fast paced, making each game fun to watch with family.”
The different teams have also added on to their squad before the league started with an auction to determine the new players to add on to their team.
Players from all around the globe, such as Australia, New Zealand, England, and even Ireland, put their names in their auction hoping to get chosen to make an impact for their team.
IPL has it all with the business, fans, entertainment and even the storyline for each team as well. So what about in the USA?
“My family has always been into the IPL for as long as it’s been around. I lived in India for 2 years and we would all watch the games together. It’s a nice way to bond,” senior Ronit Prakash said. “The IPL is also interesting because I really like the sport and it can get pretty exciting when the game gets close. I think the IPL is really big with Indians in America.”
The United States has seen its fair share of growth in terms of cricket in part because of the American league, Major League Cricket (MLC), which is similar to the Indian Premier League (IPL). MLC will be introduced to America in August when the new league begins.
In March, the league hosted an auction for the six teams to select their players. Games will be `played throughout the summer in stadiums that are being built in cities such as San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York City, Seattle, Arlington, and Washington, D.C.
Despite the league being formed, many people are still unaware of its appearance as many of the fans interviewed had no clue about the league’s existence.
The league has also seen big name international players come and play for teams which has also played a huge role in cricket’s growth.
The growth also extends to America’s national cricket team, which had just made it to the World Cup qualifiers tournament.
This is the first step to give the team a chance to participate in the Cricket World Cup 2023 in November.
“[Cricket in America] also is garnering more and more interest,” former San Ramon Cricket association coach Jacques Taylor said.