Cricket boys are the underdog campus heroes who don’t get the credit they deserve
Summer may be over but the cricket boy is here all year
We've already extolled the limitless virtues of the cricketer as a romantic partner. Their qualities, however, do not end there. The cricket lad (or indeed lass) is a pivotal feature of any university worth its salt.
The other more prominent sports stereotypes are, notoriously, complete dickheads. Obviously we're talking about the likes of rugby, football and hockey here.
If any of these clubs were to occupy 100 per cent of a university’s sports-person quota, campus' would turn into an unbearable hellhole. It's just not sustainable.
Imagine, if you will, even a 10 per cent increase in a campus’ rugby player population. Wednesday night’s Jaeger would soon be replaced by piss, as 'the lads' embark upon various forms of gratuitous, nudity-based banter, such as masturbating into drinks – which sounds extreme, but not that big a leap seeing as they’re already at it in club toilets.
Admittedly this would be offset by lots of referees being called "sir", which of course means that Jonty and Co. are all in fact lovely, respectful blokes at heart.
Cricket players, by contrast, will keep their forays towards dickhead-ery within the confines of the playing field, as it should be. They’re still available as free-to-view, light hearted entertainment for the evening, of course, but only at your discretion, meaning no irritating, stag-do-esque chants or untoward genitalia.
What of a football-dominated campus? For one, we would all be forced to suffer months upon months of tedium, given the lack of discernible personality traits of this particular group. Worse than that, the levels of Instagram bios including "footballer" (you play in a park) and the prevalence of skinny Adidas trackies matched with Nike AirMax would soon reach unbearable levels.
The nature of these atmosphere sapping vanity kings might, in their defence, be a result of the nature of the game they play. Unless you’re an isolated forward in a Steve Evans style side (Pulis style for you Barclays-following plastics), conversing with the opposition centre half, the beautiful game doesn’t lend itself to an interesting dialogue, and as such might restrict personality development.
But just as cricketers leave being a dickhead to the pitch whilst rugby keeps it off it, they also keep the tedium on the pitch as footballers leave it to their social lives.
Thanks to the length, mental nature of the game and, let’s be honest, how dull it can get, having interesting chat is part and parcel of being a cricket player. Without a healthy chunk of cricket players all the Tinder conversations you had via on-campus matches would be akin to the classic Year 8 "Wuu2?" crib sheet.
How about hockey? Would they not fulfil the ball-hitting quota in the absence of cricketers? Not a chance. If you think a rugby uni would be bad, think of one filled by the rugby and football rejects who play hockey.
Wandering around attempting rogue, "laddish" shit in the hope of making it onto their university's gossip Facebook page and thinking they’re elite because they’ve excelled at a sport exclusively played by people who pay for their education (if you want to accuse cricket of this, take a road trip through Yorkshire on a Saturday first).
These three scenarios are only avoided thanks to the little praised work of our underdog heroes. Cricket players offer the perfect antidote to the various groups of more prominent and entirely more insufferable sports kids.
Athletic without making you feel inferior, funny without being overbearing, and rogue without veering into Ja'mie levels of "omg, I am SO random".
The very nature of cricket necessitates being socially excellent. In a sport that requires spending an entire day together, you’ll not last long being a dickhead, or at least being a dickhead unable to cover that fact when necessary.
Maybe people getting their balls out in club photos, "straight arming" drinks so they go on your shoes, and preening themselves for next year’s Love Island is okay in moderation. You couldn't hack it all the time though, and it’s the cricketers that dilute the nonsense so the rest of you can flourish.
Every single Russell Group university has its own cricket team. This is not the case outside of this prestigious enclave. The probability of this being a coincidence is incredibly low. So, to any of the post-millennium cherubs embarking on their university adventure this month, if you rock up to Freshers' Fair and notice a distinct lack of a cricket club – drop out and head for the hills.