Although wildly popular in other parts of the world, and particularly other parts of the British Commonwealth, the sport of cricket exists as a kind of mysterious colonial echo for many Canadians. Those who are aware that it exists likely think of it as some distant cousin of baseball, and couldn’t tell you much more about how it is played.
Given that, it may come as a surprise that Sherbrooke has a competitive cricket club that has roughly 160 members and has been active for close to a decade.
Rajinikanth Rajagopal, one of the founders of the Sherbrooke Cricket Club (SCC) and manager of the club’s competitive team said that it started out as a group of friends getting together to casually share a common interest.
“It got started by a couple of friends after a barbecue,” Rajagopal said, explaining that the group of about 20 went to play in a nearby baseball field. Their experience was so positive and their enthusiasm so great that they started to get together to play on a regular basis.
There are comparisons that can be made between baseball and cricket, although there is a limit to how helpful such comparisons can be for someone who has never seen the game played. Both sports involve trying to hit a ball with a bat. Both games involve the batter running while an opposing outfield team tries to catch that ball. Beyond that, however, the links become a bit less clear.
Whereas baseball is played on a diamond, a cricket match plays out in an oval with a rectangular pitch in the centre.
“Usually in baseball they play in a corner (of the field), but cricket happens in the middle,” Rajagopal said, explaining that one team fields two batters at a time to face each other across the pitch. Each of these players stands in front of a wicket; a set of two small sticks balanced on top of three taller poles. A bowler from the opposing team (think pitcher) throws the ball towards one of the two batters, aiming to knock down their wicket. If successful the batter is out, and a new batter is brought on, if the batter hits the ball, then the two batters run back and forth to the opposite ends of the pitch to score points.