Cricket club seeks recognition
The Memphis Tigers Cricket Club sports a trophy after winning the tournament at Ole Miss last week. Courtesy of the Cricket Club
Interest in cricket is increasing at the University of Memphis, and it's not the phone company.
The Memphis Tigers Cricket Club, officially introduced as a Registered Student Organization by the Student Activities Council in July 2009, has been working on establishing its name while battling limited resources on campus.
Playing together since 2007, the members of MTCC began inching their way towards credibility in May 2009 when they competed in the Independence Cup at the University of Mississippi, earning runner-up in the team's first official tour.
"Right now we have 30 people and each team has 11 people so we have almost three teams on campus," said Krishna Dhanekula, the group's advisor. "We play and practice each other so when we get to a tournament we pick the best players to play."
After failing to advance past the group stage in the team's second tournament - the Bulldawg Cricket Tournament - MTCC has advanced to the finals in every tournament the team has competed in since.
They have done so with limited resources, often being forced to find other areas to practice because of the abundant use of on-campus fields by other teams and clubs that have been an RSO longer.
"As of now our funds are limited from the University, so we are paying out of our own pockets to get new equipment and travel to tournaments," Dhanekula said. "Other universities have their own cricket fields and have funds and play under the lights. We mostly play in the parking lots right now. Sometimes we get lucky and get to play on Echles Field."
Despite trouble with practice facilities and funds, coach and star player Murali Ankaraju said the club is working on becoming a member of American College Cricket, the official cricket league.
"We decided to play in tournaments with our own funds and win some tournaments and trophies to show the University we are progressing," Ankaraju said. "Once we show them we are progressing, hopefully we can become an official team and join the ACC."
He said winning future tournaments will help legitimize the club's presence on campus and ultimately help it become an official member of the ACC.
The club is preparing for a trip to Jackson State on Sept. 8 to play in a four-team tournament. The team then travels to Mississippi State in late September, where eight to nine teams will compete.
As the team moves forward, Ankaraju said the main focus is to continue expanding the sport at the University so the group can one day compete competitively in the ACC.
"We are heading in the right direction," he said. "Cricket has come a long way since it was introduced here in 2007, and the future of it is very good. We are all confident that MTCC will become one of the best teams in the collegiate ranks."
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