The Japan News by The Yomiuri Shimbun

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Cricket has given me a precious student life and a positive attitude

Ms. Yuko Kuniki

"A good thing about cricket is that you can continue to score runs," Kuniki says with a smile. "I once scored 76 runs, hitting for 90 minutes. The sense of accumulating runs is great!" But wait! One batsman hits for 90 minutes? 76 runs? "Cricket is generally the same as baseball. But there are many different rules, and first, the bat is different. Though not as big as a tennis racket, the face to hit the ball is large, so it is easier to meet the bat with the ball. You can block the ball like bunting. If you hit the ball to an unfavorable position, there is no need to run, so you cannot easily be dismissed. For defense, you play with bare hands except for the player equivalent to the catcher in the baseball." As it takes a long time for each batsman, each game is naturally long. College student games usually last three hours, and international matches may last six hours.

"As cricket came from England, it is considered a sport of aristocrats. In a long game, there can be tea time during a match (laughing)." Cricket is not popular in Japan. In fact, you can play cricket at only a few universities in Japan. The exact number of cricket players is unknown, and it is said to be only second to soccer. It is played in more than 100 countries and regions.

She started to play cricket in the winter of her freshman year. The turning point was when her friend introduced her to the sport. "I entered WASEDA after studying one more year to get into my desired university, but at first I couldn't get used to it. As I went home immediately after classes, my mother was a little worried (laughing). But after starting to play cricket, I got more friends, and at once my student life became enjoyable!" At first, she was not enthusiastic about it, but at the end of her sophomore year, she started to devote herself to practice, keeping freshmen in mind. As she had played softball in junior and senior high school, she became very adapt very quickly. "Last June, I was selected as a member of the Japan team. Most of the teammates are working adults, and they are all nice. In particular, the captain and sub-captain have strongly affected me in terms of how to live. What was especially pointed out was the importance of quickly understanding and realizing the way I needed to be. It is something useful not only for cricket for which teamwork is important but also for leading my life as I become a working adult."

"If I hadn't entered WASEDA, I would not have played cricket. As I have met many students and wonderful teachers, I am really glad I entered the university." In April, Yuko will move to Osaka where she will work, but she says she will continue cricket. "Cricket has changed my life. As there are non-professional circles, I will come from Osaka to join the matches!" With this positive attitude, we can feel her strong commitment to cricket.

Won bronze medal at the Asia Cup, November 2010!

(Offered by WASEDA WEEKLY)

Ms. Yuko Kuniki

Born in Chiba Prefecture in 1987. Graduated from Makuhari Sohgoh High School. Graduated from School of Education in March 2011. Belonged to softball teams in junior and senior high schools, but according to Yuko, "My athletic capacities are poor, so I couldn't play really well." In the winter of her freshman year, joined the Wyverns Cricket Club, which has about 30 members, and started to play the sport, taking advantage of her experience in softball. She says, "as many people start to play cricket at universities, you work hard and you can do great things, even if you have never been in an athletic team." In fact, she was selected as a member of the Japanese cricket team for 2010 and played in the Asia Cup in November. Her interests are reading and playing the piano. Her favorite animal is surprisingly, a "shark." She loves time to be alone, and prefers shopping "by herself."