URI Honors Colloquium to hold cricket demonstration, matches on Kingston Campus Oct. 18

KINGSTON, R.I. – October 9, 2009 – Imagine a baseball game lasting five days. How about one of the game’s top pitchers throwing at speeds exceeding 100 miles per hour being tagged for six straight home runs by one of the world’s best batters in one game?

Such is the scope, majesty and mystery of cricket, one of the world’s most popular and fastest growing stick and ball games.

The University of Rhode Island Honors Colloquium, Demystifying India, will give those interested to sample the game during a demonstration and matches Sunday, Oct. 18 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on the Kingston Campus Quadrangle. An Indian food festival featuring delicacies provided by Kabob and Curry of Providence and Varanasi of Kingston will follow the cricket matches. The match and food festival are open to the public. Food will be available for purchase.

URI Mechanical Engineering Professor Arun Shukla, who is coordinating the colloquium with URI Marketing Professors Ruby Dholakia and Nikilesh Dholakia, is directing the cricket event.

A high school and college cricket player in India, Shukla said there will be five or six teams with one instructor who will teach the players the basic rules of the game. Then, the teams will compete in three or four matches. For the safety of the players, a tennis ball will be substituted for a real cricket ball.

“Everyone who comes to the event will have a chance to play,” Shukla said.

While field hockey is India’s national game, cricket is the most popular, Shukla said. “Temperamentally, Indians are very patient because much of life in India is about waiting, and cricket requires great patience and great attention to tactics.”

He said cricket, which was brought to India and many other colonies by the British, could also be a great example to politicians, who often seek only victory. “In cricket, you can have a great struggle, great strategy and you can still have a tie. No one loses, but everyone gets something out of it.”

Shukla said the purest form of the sport is found in the test matches, five-day marathons between national teams. The World Cup features one-day matches. Including Australia, the top cricket nations are: South Africa, India, Pakistan, England, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and the West Indies.

While baseball has nine players, cricket has 11, including a bowler, or pitcher, and a wicket keeper or catcher. The other nine players can occupy up to 50 positions on the 360-degree field. The field has a diameter of about 160 yards. Batsmen can hit the ball behind or in front of them.

In India, Calcutta has a stadium that seats 100,000 fans, but many other facilities around the country seat 30,000 to 40,000.

“I remember as a boy in Lucknow, India, (currently a city of 4 million people) when the whole country would come to a standstill when India was playing in the in the test matches. In the 1960s, there was no television in India, so I would walk down to this big scoreboard where someone would post the scores manually. Thousands of people gathered and passed the time with each other while watching the scores change.”

For further details about the colloquium, including an updated schedule and information on parking, go to www.uri.edu/hc or contact the URI Honors Center at 401-874-2381 or debg@uri.edu.

Major colloquium sponsors are: The Honors Program, Office of the President, Office of the Provost, College of Business Administration, College of Arts & Sciences, College of Engineering, Division of University Advancement, The Anthony J. Risica Lecture Series on Innovation & Entrepreneurship, and The Village Inn – Narragansett.

Additional sponsors include: College of Human Science and Services, College of the Environment and Life Sciences, Office of the Vice President for Administration, Office of the Vice Provost for Information Technology Services, University College, URI Diversity Week-Multicultural Center, URI Women’s Studies Program, The Mark and Donna Ross Honors Colloquium Humanities Endowment, Kabob N Curry – Providence, and Professor G.S. Verma and Mrs. R. Verma.