Cricket is described as India’s obsession. For Nitesh Singh and Rakesh Cherukuri, it is far more than a sport. Nitesh describes it like this, “It doesn’t see a country or a state or a religion or a cast or anything like that. It just sees the game.” Nitesh grew up in Mumbai before moving to Madison where he met Rakesh in the tech field. The sport has united them in more ways than one.
Cricket provides camaraderie and it is growing in popularity here in Wisconsin. Their cricket league has expanded to more than 20 teams. For those not familiar with the sport, it is often compared to baseball. The pitcher or cricket bowler can hurl the ball around 100 miles an hour. Both sports use a bat, a ball and the desire to outscore the opponent. Rakesh says the only difference is “in baseball you basically run four corners, in cricket we basically run back and forth.” In Wisconsin, cricket is often played on adapted baseball diamonds.
Rakesh and Nitesh also agree cricket can provide valuable life lessons. There are a lot of emotions in cricket. Nitesh says, “You can very much relate it to your actual life. Winning and losing, ups and downs, right? It keeps you humble and keeps your emotions in check.” There is a sense of pride about this sport in the cricket community, a feeling of home in a far-flung land. Rakesh says, “We lived for cricket in India. It’s pure enjoyment.” And now they are getting to live it here in Wisconsin.