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Dartmouth – A cricket tradition continues
by Dreamcricket USA
May 15, 2007
Then: Dartmouth College in 1793 – Cricket is being played on The Green in the foreground!
The earliest known portrayal depicting cricket in the Americas is the same one that also depicts Dartmouth College. It is an engraving that appeared in the Massachusetts Magazine during February 1793. The copper engraving is signed by J. Dunham, delineator and S. Hill, sculpt/engraver. Accompanying the engraving in the Massachusetts Magazine is a short description of Dartmouth College that included the following: 'The new College [predecessor of Dartmouth Hall], which is represented in the plate, is an elegant wooden building, 150 feet by 50, and three stories high. It was erected in 1786, and since finished; and contains 36 rooms for students, beside two rooms for the library and apparatus. Its situation is elevated, healthful and pleasant, commanding an extensive prospect to the west.'

This picture shows cricket being played in the Green outside the college with the old style bat and two wickets on either side. If the ball passed through the wickets without dislodging the bails, then it was 'not out'.

In addition to Dartmouth, there is evidence that cricket was played at Harvard in the late 18th century and it is generally believed that the two prestigious schools played cricket matches as the century drew to a close. In comparison, the first Ivy League baseball game was not played until early 1860s.

Some 200 years later, in the 1990’s, Dartmouth cricket was revived and nurtured by professors and students. The earliest contemporary news report of Dartmouth cricket is from May 25th, 1996 when the visiting Dartmouth team (230 for 7) defeated Columbia (209 for 8) by 21 runs. Ivy League cricket was back on track after a long break.

Now: A Dartmouth game at the Scully Field


Cricket is everywhere: From the classrooms to the grounds

Dartmouth has long winters, it is miserably cold for six months of the year, and the school itself is known for its strong leanings towards interdisciplinary work and recently was named one of the most enduring educational institutions. It is no surprise then that cricket has endured at this institution and acquired deep roots.

It does not hurt that the Dartmouth faculty are supportive of cricket. Recently, when Dartmouth Cricket Club member and Dean of Faculty, Jamshed Bharucha was hired by nearby Tufts University as the Provost and Senior Vice President, he admitted to the Tufts newspaper that while he can hold his own in a softball game, he brings a perspective on a different national sport: cricket. Jamshed was instrumental in the formation of the Dartmouth Cricket Club.

Another professor, Praveen Kopalle, is very open about his love for his game. His summary profile on the Tuck website lists his research interests in three lines and his cricket interest occupy the remaining three lines.

Cricket is close to the heart of Vijay Govindarajan, Earl C Daum 1924 Professor of International Business at the Tuck School. When asked about India’s recent World Cup debacle by India’s leading Business Line magazine, he was passionate in his reply - "It is a lesson in mismanagement," he said, adding "India won only 3 out of 16 ODIs played outside India. There is something fundamentally wrong with the Indian team."

Pressed further, he offered a free Ivy League lesson to the magazine's readers. "Three ingredients of world class organizations were missing in our team: Talent, team spirit, and execution discipline." Providing the 3-box theory, box 1 is 'managing the present,' box 2 is 'selectively forgetting the past,' and box 3 is 'creating the future' he said that India was stuck in box 1 and did precious little about boxes 2 and 3. "We have to ask more fundamental questions about how the world of cricket is changing and how we need to get the right people and the right processes to compete in the future," referring to the need for fast-paced grounds, physical conditioning and mental attitude. "Let us selectively forget the stalwarts whose great years are behind them and focus on building a pipeline of young talent."

A winning record

For students, the college’s location in New Hampshire has not been a hindrance to play the sport. New Hampshire and Vermont do not have cricket leagues and Massachusetts League games are too far away. The two teams at Dartmouth, one representing Tuck School of Business and the other representing Rest of Dartmouth, practice together twice a week at the Leverone Field House and at the Sculley-Fahey Field. As a combined team representing Dartmouth College, they also schedule friendly fixtures against nearby teams including County of Vermont, Chittenden, and Middlebury College.

On April 22, 2007, Dartmouth played nearby Middlebury College and defeated them by 43 runs. Batting first, Dartmouth made 253 for 6 and Middlebury made 210 for 8. Since 2004, Dartmouth has won 8 matches and lost 4. All 4 losses were to Chittenden - Dartmouth’s bogey team!

Current student and Dartmouth College Cricket Club president Nicola Mootoo said, "It’s tough competition with those guys." No kidding! Fixtures are not very frequent for Dartmouth and so "Every game is like a final. Every game we try to play just to win."

The Team

Dartmouth team that defeated Middlebury.
Sitting (left to right): Govind, Jay, Amitavo, Apurva, Vijaysri.
Standing (left to right): Himanshu, Omar, Nitin, Harsha, Rahul,
Nicola, Sumit
Like cricket teams across USA, Dartmouth’s team comprises mostly of expatriates although there were three Americans on the team a year ago.

Speaking to the Diverse magazine (April 5, 2007), Nicola Mootoo says that the camaraderie developed on the field extends beyond it. Nicola, a native of Trinidad & Tobago, says she developed an interest in other countries because of her interaction with other foreign students. “We are all following the international cricket scene. So when West Indies is playing South Africa, I am always in touch with Chris (Scholtz, Dartmouth Club Team Captain, who is from South Africa).” The same camaraderie extends to other disciplines as well.

Recently, I had an opportunity to talk to Himanshu Kumar Singh (Class of 2008, Tuck) who co-chairs the Tuck Cricket Club, along with fellow Tuckie, Nitin Duggal. He explained that cricket is played throughout the year on campus and twice-weekly practices are not unusual even during winter months.

What's next?

In 2006, cricket forums were abuzz with talk of reviving the short-lived Ivy Cricket League. Penn, Yale, Columbia and Princeton formed exactly such a league in 1995 and Penn took the inaugural (and only) trophy. In an article that appeared in the September 20, 2006 edition of The Cornell Daily Sun, Senior Editor David Wittenberg wrote: "An Ivy Cricket League is also in the works. Clubs at Yale, Penn, Princeton, Dartmouth and Cornell have already signed on to the idea, which is still in its earliest stages."

I asked Himanshu if there were plans of reviving the even more ancient Dartmouth-Harvard cricketing fixtures. “There has been talk of reviving the Harvard-Dartmouth cricket matches," he said, "but such a face-off is only possible if Harvard has a playing XI." A visit to Harvard College Cricket Club’s website yielded an ‘under construction’ notice.

Some of the Dartmouth professors and staff are members of the club and also turn up for practice sessions regularly, such as Praveen Kopalle, a professor at Tuck. In fact, the team captain Chris Scholtz is a staffer at Dartmouth.

Dartmouth team that played against Chittenden (13th May 2007). Sitting (left to right) Ashley (visitor), Ravi, Chris (captain), Nicola, Rahul. Standing (left to right): Himanshu, Srini, Apurva, Govind, Harsha, Nitin, Sudarshan, Vijaysri.
Himanshu hopes that cricket will grow and become more popular outside of the strong expatriate base. Nearby Middlebury has successfully conducted a program called ‘Cricket for the clueless’ to popularize the sport. A program is underway at Dartmouth as well to popularize the game on campus.

Recently, the Tuck Cricket Club conducted training sessions for Tuck students who were interested in knowing more about the game. This initiative was very well received, especially by the American students. Also, this weekend (Sunday, 19th May) the Tuck team of MBA students will be playing a friendly game with Rest of Dartmouth; an event which is expected to generate a good amount of interest on campus. A game between Tuck first years and second years is also on the horizon. These matches, and other similar events would help Nitin and Himanshu bring their big plans for cricket at Dartmouth to fruition. With the new batch of students arriving in Fall, this program is set to gain momentum.

Dartmouth's cricket program is true to Dartmouth’s own motto. Vox clamantis in deserto – The voice of one crying out in the wilderness.

For more information on Dartmouth Cricket, please visit http://www.dartmouth.edu/~dccc/

More pictures:

Practice area inside Leverone


Dartmouth team jersey
























Venu Palaparthi with input from Himanshu Singh (Tuck '08)
 
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