The cricket team at the University of South Florida (USF), like most college cricket teams, was created to play in an American College Cricket Championship, the first one in 2009.
I worked with Ujval Choksi, then President of the USF cricket club) to find and motivate players to form a team at the last minute. Ujval did not make the team but unselfishly got the team together.
From that beginning, USF has been one of the strongest college teams, reaching the Finals in 2009, almost knocking off York University in the Semis in 2010, and playing undefeated in 2011. But they did not gain enough points to get into the final four.
Disappointingly they have not maximised these performances to get more attention on campus, USF Cricket is the only one of our teams which has never had an article written about it in its college media (to my knowledge), and the team was almost left out of the 2011 American College Cricket Spring Break Championship.
Fortunately that is about to change. One of the Bulls’ biggest supporters on the sidelines at games has been Satish Hanumanthu.
Satish recently completed his MBA in management Information Systems, and is now working full time at USF, whilst serving as an advisor for University Cricket Club. A few weeks ago Satish organized the Students Premier League – a tapeball tournament, so we spoke with him about it:
– 1. What made you organize the SPL? — Cricket is a lifeline for me in this stressful world. I had a long standing desire to bring to USF and Tampa an IPL style event, that is both entertaining ON and OFF the field. With the ease of networking over Facebook and other social networking sites, it was easier to organize.
2.Other colleges have had their own versions of the IPL, but you took it up a noche, following the example of American College Cricket, you did webcasts of the Auction & the games, how did that go?
The key to our success was the attention to detail in the planning stage of the tournament. Identifying the right people with the enthusiasm and right intention helped. We had plenty of brain storming sessions.Facebook and free live streaming over the internet gave us powerful platforms to reach out to people. We also involved the ladies by making them team owners and thereby drew a lot more eyes for the game. I also organized a cricket match for the ladies, which was a big hit. This made it a complete fun family event over the entire weekend.
3. You got everyone so worked up over the Event; they dressed up for the Dinner-type Auction . How does it feel to have motivated your peers in this way?—— There were skeptics who initially doubted the success of the tournament, but once things started taking shape everyone jumped in and played their part. As a management graduate myself, I have learnt a thing or two about managing people.
4. Do you feel that organizing the SPL, creating a Facebook splash gave you a better understanding of what American College Cricket has been doing?
— Absolutely. We definitely drew a lot of inspiration from American College Cricket and the great enthusiasm with which you and Nino have encouraged college students to pursue the passion for cricket in the USA. USF has been a regular at American College Cricket Championships and has seen how ACC has grown in a short time. We look forward to more cricket with American College Cricket.
5. Wasn’t it a lot more exciting playing cricket in this manner, rather than “invisible cricket “? —— Yes. We brought a whole festive atmosphere to the tournament. SPL was the buzz word for many weeks before and after the tournament. Knowing that everyone was more visible and accountable than before brought out that extra effort which was there for all to see.
6.Out of every 11 cricketers there will be some talented players so I am more interested in people like you, who do something for the game beyond just playing. Do you see yourself continuing to put your passion into organizing events like this? Did you have fun exercising your leadership skills ?
Definitely. Along the way, I have realized that people skills come to me naturally. Apart from my full time work, I will definitely engage in more such activities. I strongly believe that there is a great potential for cricket and cricket administration in the US!!
Students Premier League Inaugural Edition : TAPEBALL
Gold Medal Winners (1st Prize) : Team Hurricanes Man of the Match – Anshul Lakshman
Silver Medal : Team Invincibles
Bronze Medal : Team Supernova Best Batsmen : Farid Dudda from Team Hurricanes
Best Bowler : Sri Harsha Boddepalli from Team Supernova
Most Valuable Player of the Tournament : Abdullah Sheikh from Team Hurricanes
Parag Pitale – 114 in 47 balls, and took 2 wickets
Women’s Gold Medal Winners: Charlie Angels Silver Medal : Pink Panthers