Little India in the car park

Cricket is usually played on grass with a leather ball. These Indian students, however, are playing with a tennis ball in the car park. But that doesn’t matter – ‘Playing cricket here reminds me of India.’

On Saturday afternoons there are no cars in the car park next to the Physics complex at Zernike. PhD and Master’s students from India and Pakistan have transformed the car park into a cricket pitch. ‘We play here because there’s the space for it’, explains Pranov (25).

Cricket is a ball game that is mainly popular in the UK and its former colonies. It is even national sport number one in India. The ten players are not in whites, but in ordinary shirts and trainers. What they all are is fanatical. ‘You officially play cricket with two teams of eleven players, but often we have fewer than that so we have to improvise’, says Pranov while tying his shoelaces and hoicking up his jeans.

The car park has been used by the cricketers for several years. They play every Saturday from May to September. 29-year-old Esway has been playing cricket for as long as he can remember. ‘We love this sport. We’ve grown up with it. Because it’s hardly played in the Netherlands, we organize it ourselves.’

On the streets

‘I started playing cricket when I was 8, that’s what everyone in our country does. Boys play it on the streets’, says Appu (26). Although the students all speak different dialects because they come from different parts of India, they’ve all grown up with cricket.

The students play three games. That takes them several hours. At the end of the first game, Nouran hits the ball straight into the hands of one of his opponents. A catch means a point for the other team. What a shame.