Science - June 16, 2005

Anyone for cricket?

Nearly everyone has spent time at the sports centre de Bongerd, kicking a football around or working out in the fitness centre, but few people know that cricket is also played there. Cricket in Wageningen? Yes, you heard right. Every Sunday a small group of enthusiasts put on their ‘cricket whites’ and go out to play one of the most popular sports in the world.

‘Cricket is certainly played by a huge number of people in India,’ says Sharad Donga, a master’s student doing Management Studies, himself from India and a player at Cricket Club Wageningen (CCW). ‘Quite a lot of cricket is played in the Netherlands as well. But of course the standard is not as high as in countries like India and Sri Lanka. After hockey it’s the most popular sport and thousands of people watch. In the Netherlands there are about thirty clubs of different levels.’ He considers CCW to be of a reasonable standard. ‘They certainly play well if they have a full team.’

Donga says it is difficult to get a whole team together for each match. ‘In India you just haul someone in from off the street,’ he laughs. ‘Everyone plays cricket there, but here it’s more difficult.’ According to the Indian, the reason that so few people play cricket in the Netherlands is because a cricket match often takes up a whole day. ‘That puts some people off, but it’s also because people are not that familiar with the sport.’

Not many international students play cricket either, tells Donga. He thinks that’s because there are not that many students from countries like India and Sri Lanka in Wageningen. ‘But even the students who do come from countries where cricket is played do not play much here.’ According to Donga these students are very focused on their study and don’t want to give up a whole day. ‘That’s a shame. If we had fifteen or more players we would always be able to make up a team.’ Donga has been playing cricket his whole life. ‘That’s why it’s hardly surprising that I play for CCW while I’m here.’ / TH

CCW plays every Sunday, starting at 11.00 on the field next to the hockey club. Information: http://huizen.ddsw.nl/bewoners/ccw/

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