Football, Baseball, Basketball, Lacrosse, Soccer…and now Cricket. Yes, Milton now has a cricket team.. Although they have no coaching staff and are not officially associated with Milton, they utilize the school’s name and are approved by Brian Jones. Therefore, let’s welcome Cricket to the Milton family of sports.
They join the rest of Milton’s prestigious athletics programs in competing against other schools from around the North Fulton area, but of all of the sports offered at Milton, Cricket is more than likely the one people know the least about. So, here’s a quick and simplistic run down of how Cricket works:
Two teams (11 on each side) will each take a turn to bat, with the other side bowling (pitching the ball). The team with the most runs scored at the end of the game wins. The bowling team will be in the oval field looking to catch the batters out, while the batting team sends out 2 players. One will be standing in front of a wicket (3 upright sticks coming out of the ground) hitting the incoming ball, while the other will be at a wicket in front of the batter. The bowler pitches the ball, throwing it once off the ground before it reaches the batter. When the ball is hit, the two batters will run back and forth from each wicket tagging it with their bat to score points until the fielding team can either throw them out or they stop running to stay safe. The teams alternate
Two major differences from baseball: The whole oval is in play, as there is no foul territory. Also, the batter does not have to attempt to run after they hit the ball if they believe they will be thrown out.
Cricket is largely unfamiliar to America, specifically the southeast, but a group of Milton seniors have aimed to change that by starting up this team.
Naren Matcha, Rahul Chandrappa, Akash Bhatt, Manav Kania, Saad Maan and Sparsh Kudrimoti started playing cricket routinely in a local neighborhood cul de sac this past summer. Watching the 2019 Cricket World Cup inspired them to continually play as well. Realizing they had all of the required materials to play a full game, they decided to research local leagues for cricket. To their surprise, they found a league full of local schools already in place.
Fast forward, and Milton’s cricket team stands at 3-1, having taken down South Forsyth, Wheeler, and Walton. According to senior Rahul Chadrappa (listed as an “All-Rounder” online), at first the team’s goal was just to have fun.
“Since we were new to this league, our plan was to be competitive and just have fun playing. Through 4 games, we have shown that we are one of the top team with a chance to win it all, so our goals have shifted towards more aggressive expectations like making it to the finals” Chandrappa says.
Team captain Akash Bhatt says the team originated from “wanting to have fun and create an inclusive experience for ourselves and anyone else who was interested in cricket.” However, Bhatt believes that the 21-man roster’s goal is simple: “Win the league.” The regular season will conclude in March, with playoffs set to start up in April.
One concern for the cricket team is the amount of seniors they have on the team. Once all of them graduate, it remains to be seen if the Milton cricket team continues the legacy they left behind.
However, the senior leaders are confident that the underclassmen will carry the torch. Chandrappa cites that “the underclassmen enjoy playing” and that he “could definitely see them getting a team together for next year.”
Bhatt agrees, stating that “we are trying our best to create a pipeline of kids behind us to continue our legacy.” He also adds that there is a local youth league in the Hearthstone neighborhood that is coordinated by one of their younger teammates, and when some of the younger participants get older, he hopes they will join the team they started.
While football, basketball, lacrosse and other major sports take center stage at Milton, it is nice to see the progressiveness that some students have displayed in starting up a new team for a sport that does not receive a lot of attention around this area. Who knows, maybe this is the start of one of Milton’s most successful sports programs.