Many changes and construction projects are altering the landscape of UTD, and the Student Government Association (SGA) hopes to add one more to this list – a new cricket pitch.
Cricket, a sport that originated in Britain, is a game played all over the world. Cricket has yet to grow in the United States, but among UTD’s substantial international student population, it is a popular sport.
“We used to get together and play cricket on the soccer fields using artificial turf, which we had to drag around,” said Harsh Asher, a sophomore business major. “A new cricket pitch at UTD is a great idea.”
Ryan Davidson, SGA president, has asked many students what they thought was needed most at UTD during the previous SGA elections.
“Many students brought up the point that a real cricket pitch is definitely needed,” Davidson said. “We had campaigned for this during the SGA elections last (year) and now are trying to get a new pitch built for the students.”
So far there has been no definitive decision or agreement as to whether the pitch will be built or not.
According to Darrelene Rachavong, assistant vice president and dean of students in the student life department, the main issue is funding.
“We will decide at the next student fees committee meeting whether we can dedicate the required funds for the cricket pitch,” Rachavong said. “I have been in contact with Damon Enriquez, the director of (recreational) sports, who has given us a rough estimate of around $80,000 to be the cost of building the cricket pitch.”
The possible locations of the new cricket pitch include a site behind Phase II, near the Activities Center or on an existing field.
“If the money is procured, Robert Lovitt, the senior vice president for business affairs, has already assured us the land,” Davidson said.
The main SGA representatives backing the building of the cricket pitch are Sarah Islam, chair of the graduate and international affairs committee, and Chris Allnatt, chair of the student services committee.
“There is a lot of student support for a new cricket pitch,” Allnatt said. “We have received help and technical information from North Texas Cricket League which would help us present our case in the student fees committee meeting.”
The cricket pitch could be rented out to raise money as well.
“If the cricket pitch is built, we will also be renting out use of the field to external groups,” Islam said. “There are no cricket pitches nearby, and we expect that people would want to use a new cricket pitch if they had one available.”
No other college in the UT System has a cricket pitch despite great interest in the global sport. Players hope a new cricket pitch will generate greater interest by all students.
“Right now, despite the large population of students from cricket-playing countries, the actual number of people who regularly play cricket is pretty small,” Asher said. “Thus, participation in the game should improve with a new pitch.”