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University Minnesota To Participate In 2010 American College Cricket Tournament!

By Lloyd Jodah
Dec. 15th, 2009
Students from another Big Ten school, the University of Minnesota (UMN) are the latest to confirm they will be in the 2010 American College Cricket Spring Break Championship. Charles Peterson, an instructor at UMN said the Gophers' students are looking forward to the trip to Ft Lauderdale, to play in Cricket's Field of Dreams, the Cricket Stadium at the Central Broward Regional Park. So it's possible that next year Minnesota could be the home of the Lombardi Trophy and the Chanderpaul Trophy.
Whilst the land of the Vikings might not be thought of as a hotbed of cricket remarkably the University of Minnesota has a Credit Course in cricket, taught by Instructor Charles Peterson. It might also be noted that it was in Minnesota that Cheerleading got its official start in 1898. Charles explained: "‘Beginning Cricket’ is designed for those who have little or no knowledge of this international sport. The objectives are to teach the fundamentals of cricket, explore the structure of international cricket and current events, briefly explore historical development, as shaped by 17th century England, and social relevance of colonialism and Apartheid.  Students are introduced to hardball gear, but skills, drills and matches are played with softball equipment. The class is 12-14 weeks, depending on the calendar. By the sixth week, students regularly participate in limited over matches. After 14 weeks, they are well on the way to becoming cricket converts.
The School of Kinesiology has offered the one credit cricket class, PE1071 ‘Beginning Cricket’, every semester, since Fall of 2005, this being the fifth year. Ever since, according to Brandi Hoffman (Physical Activity Program Director) at the University of Minnesota School of Kinesiology, cricket has been one of the most popular physical activity offerings. Students consistently join the ‘Wait List” with the hope of getting a place. Over 225 students have taken the course and the University continually receives requests to field a second class.
It is pertinent that apartheid should be part of the course as cricket, specifically in the person of Basil D'Oliveira, in 1969 began the worldwide fight against apartheid. It's not normally noted but the worldwide sports boycott of South Africa, that grew into broader sanctions against the discriminatory system that then governed that country actually was begun by cricket-playing countries. Nelson Mandela rightly personifies that struggle but it was Basil D'Oliveira and Cricket that made the world take notice, and action.
The University of Minnesota's "Beginning Cricket" course was pioneered by Nadir Bhudhwani, Ph.D (U of Minn). Dr. Budhwani is an Assistant Professor at LUMS and teaches human resource development courses. A Ph.D. and a M.Ed. from the University of Minnesota, he also holds an MBA in marketing from the Institute of Business Administration (IBA), Karachi, Pakistan   Explained Dr Budhwani:

"In the summer of 2003 Richard Fie, my tennis coach, noticed my T-shirt with ‘World Cup Cricket 2003’ written on it. After several discussions, he persuaded me to propose a 1-credit cricket course at the University of Minnesota. To my surprise, in April 2004, I received from the School of Kinesiology the approval of a 1-credit cricket course. The title was ‘PE 1071: Beginning Cricket’. The course was offered as a physical education course and I had the honor of being the first instructor of the course.
I am simply amazed at the students’ ability to grasp and display the cricketing skills.  After 6 weeks of instructions, students are actually playing cricket and loving it. Their appetite fueled by PE1071, a few of the converts have played in the Minnesota Cricket Association."
A bit like Leif Ericson, Dr Nadir Budhwani and Charles Peterson are pioneers. It doesn't take a stretch of the imagination to believe other American Universities could follow the University of Minnesota and have Credit courses in cricket. With the large number of students of cricket background in US Colleges the case can easily be made for it, and this will in turn open up the game to new participants. 
Charles Peterson still plays the game he loves and continues the work of Dr Budhwani, teaching the course in cricket. Determined to do well at the 2010 American College Cricket Spring Break Championship he is also now  advising students on forming a Cricket Club at the College - imagine if, next year Minnesota is celebrating  the Vikings bringing home the Lombardi Trophy, and the Gophers the Chanderpaul Trophy!  
Charles Peterson, 58, is an University of MN Alumnus (Dept of Chemical Engineering) and Cricket Instructor, School of Kinesiology, University of Minnesota
Founding Member and past President of the Minnesota Cricket Association
President of the Minnesota International & Cavaliers Cricket Clubs
Charles can be reached at: pete6259@umn.edu 

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