Newcomers of the Year : Talwar (UCLA) & Malpani (Claremont) !

Yuvraj Talwar (Centre holding bat) with the UCLA team in Compton

Yuvraj Talwar (Centre holding bat) with the UCLA team in Compton

Every year there are lots of contenders for Newcomer of the Year, because many of you are inspired to start clubs like Shivank Joshi of UM College Park, and become members of American College Cricket like UI Chicago, UI Springfield, Southern Illinois, Temple, FSU (when Sher Tareen took his talents to South Beach) and some burst onto the scene of established clubs, like Barney Gilbert (Harvard) and Venkata Karthik (USF).

This year we picked 2 joint Newcomers of the Year as their efforts helped American College Cricket take the game to Compton, non-traditional cricket territory, and open key new opportunities for the game.

In November UCLA and a Claremont Colleges both played their first “hardball” match, using borrowed gear, and without uniforms. It was the first hardball American College Cricket game for both teams but most of the players had played the game most of their lives.

Anajaneya Malpani (far right kneeling, with glasses) with the Claremont team

Anajaneya Malpani (far right kneeling, with glasses) with the Claremont team

For years David Sentance & Mustafa Khan had taught cricket to youth in Compton & Watts, and Coach Pickens had cross trained his baseball players at his C-Bat Academy and Centennial High School in cricket . Now together with American College Cricket President Lloyd Jodah they took it to another level by arranging to host a cricket match at the Jackie Robinson Baseball Stadium in Compton.

Mustafa travelled from Arizona where he was now based and enlisted the support of the Compton City Council, Sentance enlisted the support of his cricket friends, Coach Pickens brought his baseball boys and Mama Sheen’s kids were on hand too.

But it was Yuvraj Talwar (UCLA) and Anjaneya Malpani (Claremont Colleges) whose work enabled this event to happen. It took Yuvraj lots of effort to make a UCLA club that had only played tapeball for years and will it to make the jump to an active hardball team ! Similarly the Claremont College club was started back in 2012 by Sachit Sood had to be revived by Anjaneya. .

Interestingly enough the 18 year old Anjaneya and 20 year old Yuvraj both said they started playing cricket at age 5, in Dubai where they grew up without knowing each other, only to meet in Compton,CA ! Cricket is huge in both their lives, & both said, independently of each other :

Yuvraj said : “I started the club because after growing up in Dubai (where I played cricket everyday), I just couldn’t live without the game. I wanted to show the Americans the sport I have grown up playing and re-introduce to them. It’s become more than a sport, it’s a way of life.”

Anjaneya said:“I believe cricket is my life, where each activity that takes place in my life can be related to cricket! So I had to carry this passion from Dubai to the USA where I restarted a dormant club to an active as well as funded club. It has been an honor to be a part of the American College Cricket family, and I hope to spread this spirit of cricket wherever I go.”

Yuvraj is studying International Development at UCLA. His cricket idol is Sachin Tendulkar, and he bats at # 4 and bowls leg spin. Anjaneya, an Engineering student at Harvey Mudd College (part of the Claremont network), said he’s a batting all rounder who bowls, leg or off spin or medium pace according to the needs of the team. Anjaneya’s role model is Rahul Dravid for the qualities he exhibited, “He is what I want to be, he is what I will become.”

Yuvraj’s hero is his dad, and Anjaneya’s is his grandfather who died 3 months ago.

Lloyd Jodah said, “Yuvraj and Anjaneya epitomize the enterprising spirit of American College Cricket. They have made their mark, and will leave a legacy that includes bringing college cricket to Compton, and playing the first cricket match there. The impact is already apparent, just this past week we met with the Compton’s Sheriffs Dept to add cricket to its youth sports, and they could be the conduit for adding it to 14 Sheriffs Dept locations in Los Angeles.”