CS Students Snag Spot in National Cricket Tournament

By Kelly Bilodeau
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The University of Maryland’s seven-month-old Terrapin Cricket Club plans to compete in the American College Cricket National Tournament this March. After its success at the regional tournament in October, the team was selected to participate in the national tournament as a debutante team. The players have battled numerous obstacles since its formation, and they will have to overcome yet another as they begin to fundraise for the national tournament that will be held in Florida.

The ACC divides its collegiate teams into five separate zones. The Terrapins competed in the Mid-Atlantic Region and finished in the top half of the tournament. They beat out teams like Virginia Tech and the University of Pennsylvania, and the circumstances leading up to regionals make their success even more impressive. As the temperature dropped, the team was forced indoors for practices, but as a new team, reserving space was a complicated feat and they were only able to squeeze in four practices before the regional tournament. The Student Government Organization at Maryland requires clubs to have a minimum of twenty-five undergraduates in order to receive funding, so uniforms, equipment, and registration fees were either paid out-of-pocket or through fundraising. “We had to find a way. That is where I think the strength of our club in terms of unity really emerged,” says team captain, Shivank Joshi. The team set up a Go Fund Me page and was able to cover the costs to participate in the regional tournament.

The team hosts a wide range of ages, and players have cricket experience originating in countries like India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. Vice Captain, Ejaz Ahmed (PhD, Computer Science), played cricket in India and provides the team with his invaluable experience. “He is the team’s most knowledgeable cricket player and he has been a revelation of sorts, in terms of encouragement and support,” says Joshi. Siddharth Dave (BS, Computer Science), was among the first students to show an interest in forming a cricket team at Maryland. However, it wasn’t until he received the support of Joshi, that he was able to organize the interest and form a team. Joshi researched and fulfilled the steps needed to become a student organization at Maryland and registered the team with the ACC. Anshul Sawant (PhD, Computer Science) travels with the team and attends every practice despite his demanding academics and being a full-time father and husband. “I have never seen a guy more dedicated than Anshul,” says Joshi. He drove the team to Virginia Tech and played a major role in the team’s convincing victory.

Getting thirteen players to Florida for the national tournament will not be an easy task. The team is seeking support from friends, family, cricket enthusiasts, and anyone willing. The team hopes to be the first debutant team to make it to the knock out rounds. Although the scale and sport may be very different from most, the feeling of competing, worth ethic, and spirit that resides within the players is the same as any other team at Maryland. Joshi adds, “We do this because we are passionate. We are ready to sweat it out just as much as any other collegiate sports team.”

The team has set up a Go Fund Me page and appreciates any pledge of support: Terrapin Cricket Club Go Fund Me.

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