The Tigers Gain Traction

The Stuyvesant Tigers have turned their season around after a shaky start and found confidence.

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Cricket is a sport that is popular worldwide, second only to soccer, and it has been played in Britain and India since the 18th century. The rules are simple. Two teams of 11 face off on a circular field. All but four players remain in the field and attempt to catch any balls that come their way. The remaining four players, two batsmen, a bowler, and a wicketkeeper, make up a rectangular pitch in the center of the field.

The bowler throws the ball in an attempt to knock down the wicket that is behind the batsmen. The wicket is one of a set of three stumps placed behind the batsmen. It is approximately two feet high and 10 inches wide. The batsman protects the wicket by deflecting the ball away from it. He tries to hit the ball far enough in order to have time to swap spots with his fellow batsman. One swap of spots equals one run.

The keeper remains behind the batsman and attempts to catch any bowls that go past the batsman. If the batsman attempts a run, the keeper can throw the ball at the wicket and get the batsman out. The sides take turns batting and bowling in a total of 20 overs (the cricket equivalent of an inning in baseball) with six bowls each. After the 20 overs have elapsed, the game ends, and the team with the most runs is the winner.

Stuyvesant’s cricket team, the Tigers, are currently in the middle of one of their best seasons to date but still have room to improve because of their inconsistency. Senior and co-captain Aryan Bhatt seems to have an explanation for the Tigers’ shaky start, though. “Our first two games were difficult for us; we were playing two of the stronger teams in our league, and it was a significant blow to our morale to get crushed twice in a row. However, since then, we've finally caught our stride, and it's definitely been a huge boost to morale,” Bhatt said. The team did not lose hope after their inauspicious 94-23 loss in their season opener to DeWitt Clinton High School, instead fighting hard but ultimately losing to Lehman Campus 52-51 two days later. This resilient mentality has helped the Tigers remain competitive in their Bronx/Manhattan division.

After losing their first two games, the Tigers have started to flourish in this crucial midseason point. “We've found a new batting order that's worked for us, and now that our players have learned all the basics of the game (though there's always room for improvement), we've started focusing on specializing different players to better suit their unique abilities and talents at practices, which has vastly improved our game,” Bhatt said. The Tigers have worked hard in practice, and the newcomers have found their niches in the squad. In their sixth game against Francis Lewis High School, their improvements shined through. They batted and bowled consistently and had good control of the field, helping them keep up with strong opposition from Francis Lewis.

With just six bowls remaining in the 20th over of the game, the team felt the pressure. Junior Ahamed Rashid and sophomore and co-captain Vishwaa Sofat were at bat to begin the over. Sofat had been at bat since the 11th over, and he was looking to end strong. Rashid’s wicket was hit after two bowls with no runs. Freshman Sayan Shil stepped up, and the Tigers still needed eight runs in just four bowls. Shil and Sofat exchanged runs before Francis bowled wide twice (a wide bowl gives the batsman a run), making the requirement five runs in two bowls.

Things looked bleak for the Tigers before Shil sweeped a leg shot, adding four to the Tiger run total. He now needed just one run to win the game and avoid a Super Over (each side gets six balls to score as much as they can), and he got it and the win. The Tigers edged it out, showing great composure to pull off the late victory. However, with the good comes the bad, and the Tigers experienced the bad against Bronx High School of Science.

The game started similarly to the Francis Lewis one before Bronx Science began to show their true talent against the Tigers, building a lead and ending the game 91-76. Bronx Science exposed a major Tiger flaw: the team is much too young and inexperienced. Only six upperclassmen (four seniors and two juniors) are on the roster, and the lack of experience has shown this season. Many of the underclassmen have struggled to adapt to the poor pitches and high level of competition that the Tigers have faced.

“This has been a rebuilding season for us, and it has shown in our play. But the new players we have have shown the three qualities necessary to help this team: dedication, passion, and commitment,” Sofat said, when asked about his feelings on the Tigers’ season. However, along with senior and co-captain Bhatt, the two stress the importance of leadership for this team.

The Tigers are 3-4 this season. While seemingly mediocre, the the team is going through one of its worst stretches in terms of opponents, playing numerous top-notch teams. Their current record is nothing to scoff at, as the Tigers are coming off a 0-11 season from last year.

Despite the inexperience, the future (and present) remain bright for Stuyvesant. Freshmen Parthiv Lodh and Sayan Shil have shown promise to become strong competitors in the league. Sophomores Debesh Halder and Rishi Bhatt have upped their game massively, with Halder bouncing back after a torrid debut season. Bhatt added batting to his large arsenal of skills, making him a dangerous dual threat. Sophomore Fatin Ahmed has also shown his impressive bowling ability in his first year for the Tigers, and junior Abdullahnayeem Mizan and senior Kartikay Sharma have held their own in the field, making some crucial fielding plays this season. With seven games remaining, the Tigers are on track to make playoffs, needing just three wins to qualify. After some rebuilding and a shaky start, the Tigers look to have found the answer to remaining competitive in this division.