Wicked Wicket

Meet Yusha Aziz from the cricket team.

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Cover Image
By Sahara Jamal

Name: Yusha Aziz

Grade: 12th 

Height: 5’11” 

Hair Color: Black

Eye Color: Brown 

Date of Birth: March 29, 2005  

  1. How did you get into cricket? How long have you been playing it?

I used to watch a lot of cricket with my family, started playing actual cricket about five years ago, and joined the Stuyvesant team this year. 

  1. Explain the game of cricket to someone who has no knowledge of the sport.

The objective of cricket is to have more runs than the enemy team. Cricket is a two-stage sport. There are two teams, where one team has to bowl, which is like pitching in baseball, and the other team is batting. At the beginning of each game, there is a coin toss. Whichever team wins it gets to choose whether to bowl or bat first. After you pick a side, the bowling team has to throw the ball at the enemy team. Behind the batter are three wooden sticks called the wicket, and the objective is to hit the wicket. When you’re bowling, there are 10 fielders who have to catch the ball once the batter hits it and pass it to a person behind the wicket called the wicket-keeper, whose job is to hit the wicket to make the person batting go out. When the ball is in the air and a fielder catches it, the enemy batter is out. The goal of the bowling team is to get the batters out as fast as possible. Now, the way to get a run if you’re batting is that once you hit the ball, you have to run to your “ally” batter on the other side. Every time you cross each other is considered a run. Basically, you want to get all the enemy batters out, and when you’re batting you want to have more runs than the opposite team. There are also a lot of small technicalities, but overall it’s a basic sport, and once you watch a few games, you start understanding it.

  1. What position do you play? What skills/strengths are involved?

I play wicket-keeper. It’s the person [who] sits behind the wicket and makes sure that when your ally bowls at you, you catch the ball. If you don’t catch the ball and it goes behind you, the batter can make a run. So you want to catch the ball, and for that, you have to have good reflexes, and that can be tough when the ball is going 80 miles per hour. You have to be able to catch that and react quickly. But you also have to have good communication skills with your teammates because every bowler is different, so you have to be able to understand how they’re going to bowl. You also have to be attentive at all times because the fielders can throw the ball at you at any moment. As a wicket-keeper, it’s important to play well because if you don’t, your whole team will fail.

  1. Do you have a most memorable/proud moment with the ​team?

Yes. We’ve only played two games so far this season, but I would have to say our second game. [Though] we had just come out of a loss, [we] weren’t demoralized [and] were still pumped with energy, especially [after] destroying the other team and just celebrating. The cricket team just has a weird tradition where every game, we bring a different condiment—the first game we had ketchup, the second Chipotle ranch—and everyone passes it around and drinks it together, and regardless of whether we win or lose, it just felt like a really good sense of community and something I wish I had more time to be a part of.

  1. How has the team changed since the new coach, Ms. Parris, came in?

Coach Parris is making us put in a lot of work. The old coach didn’t really care that much about the sport or the members of the team. Coach Parris definitely takes her time, and the environment is completely different. Now we have scheduled practices. She is also actually contacting PSAL for every small technicality to make sure we have the best experience. For example, in our upcoming game against Lehman, they don’t have enough players, and Coach Parris contacted them to make sure it gets sorted out. Or another example is how last Friday was Eid, but Eid could’ve been on Saturday too, and we had a game plan that day. Instead of accepting it, Coach Parris went and e-mailed everyone saying how [it] is not fair and it has to get changed. Without Coach Parris, we wouldn’t even have a team because no other person wanted to coach the team. She can be strict at times, but everyone loves her because she gets the job done and gets the job done well. 

  1. Do you have any plans to continue the sport in the future or in college? 

Yes, I want to play in college. But if I can’t, I definitely will play for fun. I really love the sport.

  1. Do you have any pregame superstitions or rituals?

I’m the only senior on the team, so I tend to feel like I’m responsible for the team. I always give them pep talks, especially since the majority of our team [is] freshmen, and oftentimes, they get scared of the enemy teams. Pregame I just hype our team up. Also, I am always taking them to the right place. I’m like the sole navigator of the team because this team is always sleeping on the train, and we are going so far away to the fields.

  1. What is your jersey number? What made you decide on that number? 

My jersey number is 10 because Messi and Neymar are my favorite players. They’re both 10, so I just picked that.

  1. What are the best and worst parts of Cricket?

The worst part is the ball. It’s a hard leather ball. If you don’t catch it properly, or sometimes even if you do catch it properly, your hand will be stinging for the rest of the day or even the next couple of minutes. But the best part of cricket has to be just the simplicity. [Though] there are so many players on the field, it’s not a very complicated game. After you play it, at the end of the day, it’s hit the ball, grab either side, and for the enemy side, it’s hit the wicket. It’s so simple yet so complicated because of how many small things could happen. For example, let’s say you don’t hit the bat, but it hits your leg, and your [leg hits] the wicket. That’s called leg before a wicket, and you’re out.

  1. What are your short-term and long-term goals going into the season? 

Our goal was to win a game, and we’ve already met that goal by winning our first game in four years. Now, we want to make playoffs and have fun. Our team is not as well-funded as other schools’ cricket teams, so we recruit for fun and don’t care about winning too much. We’re already doing better than last year, and we have good players, a good coach, and committed players. We have fun at practices, eat food together, and support each other. Our long-term goal is to maybe win playoffs, but we’ve already achieved our goals and can enjoy playing the game.

Funniest Teammate: Munem Tajwar

Favorite Professional Cricket Player: Virat Kohli

Playing on Full or Light Stomach: Light Stomach 

Favorite Sports Drink: White Monster Energy 

Favorite Post-Match Snack: Burger King 

Favorite Hobby: Cooking 

If You Could Play One Other Sport: Basketball

Motto to Live By: Just win, or make them lose.

Fun Fact: I haven’t hit anyone with a ball yet.