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Successful Day For College Cricket

Sept. 29th, 2009

608 runs scored in a days play! Baisley Pond Park (not a small ground) in Queens saw a run feast, as well as history made when a cricket Team from the University of Connecticutt (UConn) took the field for the first time ever, to play against the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) which has been fielding a Team since 1842.

Then in the 2nd game two teams drawn from students from the City University of New York, CUNY One and CUNY Two, played each other.

First UConn Huskies Cricket Team, flanked by Mahadeo Ajodhi and Valerie, 4th from right is Lloyd Jodah. "PHOTO Courtesy of Valerie Lacourciere.

After a frenzied morning, half of the UConn Cricket Team arrived at Baisley Pond in Queens, New York. The day had gotten off to a less than satisfactory start. Brian Ajodhi, team captain, was rifling through his phone as late as the night before, searching for willing players. It was The UConn Cricket team’s first showing. Their first challenge was to play against UPenn, a tough competitor for the newly formed team. Ajodhi was anxious,nothing was going smoothly,as the other half of the Team finally arrived.

By the afternoon the UConn Cricket team exploded onto the intercollegiate circuit making 126 for 7 in 20 overs against the Penn Cricket Club, the oldest college cricket club in the United States, who were all out for 99, losing by 27 runs.The UConn Huskies, famous for football and basketball, had made their presence known on the cricket field.

The victory was no small feat. UPenn boasted three year veterans such as its Captain Saksham Karwal, who have been carrying on their school’s age old cricket tradition. UConn with no such pedigree in place, strung together their brightest and most talented cricketers including Nirav Patel, Chad Munroe, Himank Gupta, and ably managed by Mahadeo Ajodhi.

UConn was first to bat, placing Munroe in the spotlight. Munroe delivered with style, opening the match with a 6 on the first ball, setting the pace for UConn. His power made the task of scoring runs an easy one and gave his team a good start whilst he scored 19 runs.

Brian Ajodhi batted third and demonstrated an easy grace . Rather than aggressive tactics, Ajodhi’s strength was his strategic approach to the game. He made smart decisions and was the top scorer for the UConn team, scoring 45 runs (4 fours).

Credit for the victory must also go to bowlers Nirav Patel,Gul Leo, and Chevon Mclean for dominating the UPenn batting.The chemistry of the team, which had come together just hours before the match, was certainty a factor in their win, motivated by shouts of "UConn Huskies !"

UPenn's Karwal , who cited his teams loss as ‘disappointing’, was happy to see his sport branching out into other schools. “I think they played well,the captain, Brian and the bowlers.There was good team effort on their part,” said Karwal.
Ajodhi said “I respect UPenn as a team.I look forward to facing them again. We won because we were able to play as a team. Everyone did their part to contribute to our win.”

UConn’s success did not take American College Cricket 's President Lloyd Jodah by surprise. In the presentation after the game, Jodah praised it as historic. He pointed out the apparent irony, that UConn, the youngest team on the college circuit would go up against UPenn, the school with the first college cricket club in America.The game amongst these two opponents was marked by a sense of legacies, old and new. Jodah has his sights set on bringing cricket once again into the mainstream American consciousness.
“We will make cricket a major sport in American colleges and in America,” said Jodah.

Jodah believes one of the biggest challenges in promoting cricket is that it is not marketed to the average American male. He thinks that this can be overcome with the aid of 20/20, the shortened 3-hour form of the sport, and the presence in American colleges.

“People in the US who have a cricket background comprise an affluent, well-educated demographic whose economic power is not yet being used to benefit the game, like has happened with golf." Jodah said. " Cricket is a very flexible game, playable in many formats whilst still retaining its character...... Guys were playing all over college campuses, informally with a soft ball, so I decided to build on that. By having the American College Cricket Spring Break Championship we gave them motivation to come together as Teams.In March 2010 we will have 24 Universities competing for the Chanderpaul Trophy."

Jodah added "Already Teams from USC (Trojans), Michigan State, Auburn, Boston U, Carnegie Mellon U,Ohio Wesleyan, George Mason U, Rutgers, Cornell, U of South Florida, UMiami, Texas A & M,Georgia Tech, U of Toronto, the 2009 Champions Montgomery College and more, have begun preparations to be at the Championship. We're communicating with contacts in over 70 universities."
There was a sense that the match between UPenn and UConn was more than just a game. It was a rite of initiation, a meeting of old and new.

Dodson Stars With Bat

By Valeria Lacourciere

In the 2nd game CUNY students pulled together by hardworking Ricky Kissoon competed and showed some of the abundant cricket talent in NYC's largest University, as they began preparations for the 2010 American College Cricket Spring Break Championship.

CUNY One batted first and Adrian Gordon stroked the ball all over Baisley Pond for an exquisite 44 (3 sixes,2 fours) as he and Akeem Dodson put on 81. Dodson went on to make 100* (6 sixes, 8 fours) of delightful shots all around the wicket in a magnificent century to follow up his performance in the recent Radiant Info Tournament. CUNY 1 made 192 for 3.

In response CUNY 2 got to 190 in their 20 overs. Dihan Siddique and Arif Uzzman opened the batting and nearly won the game all by themselves. Dihan Siddique made a glorious 74 (4 sixes,5 fours), batting with confidence whilst Arif Uzzman played a captain's knock of 40 (1 six,3 fours).

CUNY Match Report by Lloyd Jodah
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