In 2009 a motley crew of hastily pulled together students comprised the 5 teams of the first American College Cricket Spring Break Championhip. Except for a few guys, mainly on the Montgomery and Boston University teams, none of the guys had recent “hard ball” experience.
A scrappy University of South Florida team, lead by Sri Harsha Boddepalli made it to the Finals in a rain affected Championship. There USF gave Montgomery their toughest fight, before eventual USA cricket star Adil Bhatti and Finals MVP Mohammed Kamran saved the win for Montgomery.
In 2010 USF Bulls reached the Semi Finals and played in the first domestic cricket game ever webcast in the USA or Canada. In 2011 they narrowly missed the Semis on Points. Each time they were led by PhD student Harsha Boddepalli
Going into the 2012 season a more organized USF club appeared under the guidance of former student and now USF Satish Hanumanthu. 2009 Freshman Nirav Shah played in 2009 and now as a senior, was the Captain at the Coca Cola sponsored 2012 nationals.
UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA vs UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH FLORIDA
The U of Pennsylvania team made the final four in 2011 and entered the 2012 Championship ranked #8 .
Batting first in rain -reduced match (11 overs) USF’s openers Sai Ramesh and Asghar Sheikh scorched the UPenn bowling for 69 runs in 5.4 overs before Ramesh went for 45.
Sheikh then took over and seemed headed for a century before he was run out in the final over for 88, made in 35 balls, with 10 sixes and 2 fours !
Mayur Rao got Penn off to a rousing start whilst 2011 College Player of the year Gavish Sharma held the other end,before Mayur was out for 23 out of 29 in 2.5 overs.
Despite losing some quick wickets, UPenn was within striking range at 61 for 4 off 6.2 overs but Sai Ramesh and Ashgar Sheikh wrapped up the lower order and U of Pennsylvaia Quakers were all out for 77 runs. USF got the win plus 3 Bonus points. SCORECARD
ARKANSAS STATE RED WOLVES vs U OF SOUTH FLORIDA BULLS
With tremendous leadership Divya Patel pulled togerther a team at Arkansa State within only past month. Given the wild card opportunity to participate in the Nationals, Divya showed what our students are capable of.
The team practiced as much as it could, and showed up full of competitive spirit, and joy to be amongst their peers.
Batting first they were not the first batsmen to be baffled by the spin of Sai Ramesh, who recently returned from India where he spent 3 months training with a Ranj Trophy team. Rames took 3 wickets for 23, whilst vice captain Nagesh Nayak got 2 for 17.
For Arkansas P Patel struck 25, and C Patel was not out 10 as ASU made 94 all out.
Sai Ramesh, one of the best batsmen in the US, took it upon himself to get the winning total, smashing 64* in 25 balls as USF won, again earning 3 Bonus Points. SCORECARD
EMBRY RIDDLE AERONAUTICAL UNIVERSITY EAGLES vs U OF SOUTH FLORIDA BULLS
Sai Ramesh’s quiet speech contrasts highly with his clinical attack batting as he demonstrated once again, smashing 46 in an opening partnership of 55 in 5.2 overs with Vasudev.
USF Captain Nirav Shah struck 38 whilst all rounder Ashgar Sheil hit his 2nd 50 (29 balls), again sending the ball over the fence an extraordinary number of times, for 6 sixes !
The Embry Riddle batting was no match for Ramesh who took 4 for 9, whilst Sheikh,Nayak and Prashant Pal took 2 each.
USF won with 2 Bonus Points, and qualified for the Quarter Finals where they would face 2011 Great Plains regional Champions, Iowa State University Cylcones ! SCORECARD
IOWA STATE UNIVERSITY CYCLONES vs USF BULLS —–Quarter Finals !
As reliable as the Gucci family on July 4th, the Ramesh fireworks began as he struck 20 out of an opening partnership of 28 in 2.4 balls before S Patel got the important breakthrough.
However Sheikh struck his 3rd 50 and with his captain Nirav Shah put on 122 runs in 11.4 overs, and average of over 10 !
USF Bullls made 200 for 6 in 20 overs as the fielders clearly needed the Dasani Water breaks.
Deepak Navi, the Captain of Iowa State, did a magnificent job, first in the Great Plains regional, then getting his team to the Nationals. Now it was up to him to stave off the USF bowling attack.
He stood alone, making 37 as this time Pal did the damage,taking 4 wickets for 10 runs. Pacers Nirav Shah and Ahgar Sheikh took 2 each to rout the ISU Cyclones for 86 runs !. SCORECARD
Nirav Shah, a young man who, as a Freshman, was a part of the inaugural American College Cricket Spring Break Championship in 2009 on the sidefields of the CBRP Stadium.
2009 when we could only look at playing in the Stadium in a “field of Dreams” manner,
when the players wore white t-shirts instead of crisp uniforms in school colors,
when players were being reintroduced to “hard ball” cricket, when they had never played with a white ball,
when the school didn’t know about the first Champions Montgomery,
when we had the first Chanderpaul Trophy,
when we showed up that first morning and I felt a thrill because I knew we were witnessing the birth of a new force in World Cricket, a new force in College sports in the US,
and when 2 guys from the New York Times, Joshua Robinson & Jonathan Vigliotti showed up to do some amazing coverage of our Championship,
2009 was when Freshman Nirav Shah first played a cricket game for USF, and it was the first cricket game that a USF team ever played now as a senior, and Captain, Nirav had taken his Bulls back to the final four of the national Championship, along with another player Ben David, from that 2009 team to be televised on TV Asia !
From that humble 2009 beginning to 2012 where Coca Cola and Dish Network are now sponsors of American College Cricket !
WATCH THE FIRST SEMIS ON TV ASIA, SATURDAY MARCH 24 – USF vs YORK UNIVERSITY !
Exciting slo mo replays, commentary,3rd umpire cams etc….you’ll be amazed !