Cricket is roaring back at MIT. The MIT Cricket Club was founded in 1996 by enthusiastic students who brought the love of the game from their homelands, primarily India and Pakistan. After a few years, this group graduated and the club slumbered. But last year a new generation of cricket-crazed students hosted the first ever cricket tournament at MIT last summer. And they have stayed hot.

Grad students Srinivasan Jagannathan, left, and Ankur Sinha check the taped tennis balls in preparation for a cricket match at MIT. Tech Photo: Noah Spies.

Grad students Srinivasan Jagannathan, left, and Ankur Sinha check the taped tennis balls in preparation for a cricket match at MIT. Tech Photo: Noah Spies.

This summer, ten teams participated in the MIT Cricket Club’s summer tournament, including the MIT Electrons and the MIT Protons; university teams from BU, UMass, Yale, and elsewhere; and community teams such as the Cambridge Cricket Club.

Of course, there has to be an MIT twist. These games were dubbed “MIT tennis ball cricket” because they were played with taped tennis balls. Using taped tennis balls on an Astroturf surface “added to the novelty,” according to a Tech article, which reported the “tense and riveting encounters punctuated by awe-inspiring sixes, intimidating yorkers and bouncers, and match-turning catches.”

Taped tennis balls, adopted in 2008 after thorough investigation, also have a safety feature. Graduate student Ankur Sinha told The Tech that the standard cricket ball, made of leather, could not be used on Astroturf “because it bounced too high and could injure players. The organizers experimented with many different kinds of balls and finally settled on hard tennis balls with tape. This type of ball bounces less than the hard leather ball, but more than a softer tennis ball. The tape reduces friction and makes the ball slide over the surface so that it comes onto the bat well. As with everything else, MIT students brought innovation into cricket as well.”

Check the MIT Cricket Club for stats from past matches plus the details on the upcoming fall MIT Cricket Weekend Series.