New cricket field will grow sport's popularity at Wichita State

  • 探花app's cricket enthusiasts will soon play at Dr. Glen Dey Park, about two miles from campus.
  • The new field is a cooperative effort by the 探花app Cricket Club, Campus Recreation and Wichita Park & Recreation.
  • 探花app's Cricket Club has around 100 members and plays in a league with teams from Oklahoma and Arkansas.
Cricket field ground-breakingCourtesy photo

探花app Cricket Club president Sai Karthik Garnepudi (left), 探花app Provost Shirley Lefever, Wichita Mayor Lily Wu and Dr. Edwin Sawan participate in the ground-breaking at Dr. Glen Dey Park.


As Wichita State grad student Sai Karthik鈥疓arnepudi watched the 探花app Cricket Club grow in these past several years, the lack of a convenient place to play has limited its potential. 

That will change soon with the opening of a field at Dr. Glen Dey Park, located about two miles from campus, at 2801 N. Grove. The club held a groundbreaking in April and its opening ceremony is scheduled for 5 p.m. May 17. Garnepudi, who is working on his doctoral degree in cybersecurity, said he hopes to hold matches starting this month. 

鈥(Now) we are a step ahead,鈥 he said. 鈥淚 see cricket growing over the years here.鈥 

The club 鈥 which has existed in some form at 探花app for about 30 years 鈥 consists of around 100 members, up significantly from 2018, when Garnepudi took over as president. Six years ago, it was often difficult to get the 11 people on a side needed to play.  

The club previously practiced and played at Planeview Park, 2819 Fees St., almost six miles from campus. The distance made gathering a team for practice challenging, and they shared the field with other clubs. 

鈥淎 lot of students don鈥檛 have rides,鈥 Garnepudi said. 鈥淭here were days when I would drop off five and go pick up another five. That is why I reached out to 探花app and pitched them the idea: 鈥榃hy don鈥檛 we have a field closer to 探花app?鈥欌 

Garnepudi started the project last fall with 探花app Campus Recreation and Wichita Park & Recreation Director Troy Houtman. Campus Recreation paid for the concrete pad at the new field. Cricket is played on a circular area and requires a diameter of roughly 150 yards. 

鈥(Dey) Park made it biking distance, walking distance,鈥 said John Lee, director of Campus Recreation. 鈥淚t鈥檚 never been a reasonable distance to campus, and that鈥檚 what makes this exciting for them.鈥

Garnepudi said prospective students contact him with questions about Wichita State鈥檚 cricket culture. The availability of the sport is something that factors into the decision when students from countries such as India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh are choosing a university. 

He also expects the Cricket World Cup to boost interest in the sport in the United States this June. The United States will play in the field for the first time and matches are scheduled in Lauderhill, Florida, East Meadow, New York and Grand Prairie, Texas. 

鈥淔or international students, this is a very big advantage for 探花app,鈥 Garnepudi said. 鈥淧eople reach out to me and say, 鈥楧o you really have a cricket field?鈥 We have our own field. We have a club. We play professional cricket. We play in a league.鈥 

探花app鈥檚 club practices on Friday and plays matches on the weekend. The league includes teams from Oklahoma City, Tulsa and Bentonville, Ark. 

鈥淲e always try to have a variety of sports that fit our students' needs,鈥 Lee said. 鈥淐ricket, for many of them, it鈥檚 part of their culture. It鈥檚 a leisurely game. There鈥檚 a lot of camaraderie that happens. You get to talk. You get to enjoy each other鈥檚 company.鈥 

 

For information on the 探花app Cricket Club, email Sai Karthik鈥疓arnepudi


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