Mason Home to National Cricket Champions

Posted: April 4, 2011 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: April 1, 2011 at 1:31 pm

By Jason Jacks

The Mason cricket team with the Chanderpaul Trophy. Photo courtesy of Mason cricket

Mason sports fans still stung by the men’s basketball team’s loss to Ohio State on March 20 can take some solace knowing that another Mason team hoisted a trophy in victory that same day.

The Mason cricket team (yes, there is one) captured the title as the best collegiate team in the country over spring break when it won the Chanderpaul Trophy — college cricket’s national title — in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., by beating Maryland’s Montgomery College, the team that won the title in 2009.

This is the first national title for the two-year-old squad comprising 12 players from India and Pakistan.

“It’s the first of many to come,” says a confident team member, Anoop Nair, a senior majoring in computer engineering.

Nair says the team, which is not a sanctioned university club team, practices at least once a week, but tripled its workouts as the championships neared.

The team, whose members play regularly on clubs throughout the Washington, D.C., region, mostly plays other teams from the mid-Atlantic region, including Montgomery College, the University of Pennsylvania and George Washington University.

Immensely popular in Great Britain and its former colonies, cricket, which resembles baseball in that there is a batter, pitcher and fielders, can seem foreign to those not familiar with the sport.

First off, teams play on a pitch, not a field. And the ball is “bowled” to the batter, not “thrown.” Also, depending on which variation of cricket is being played, some matches can stretch into days before a winner is decided. The team with the most runs is the winner.

At the national championships, according to an account of the tournament posted on the American College Cricket website, the Mason team beat Penn to get to the final game, where it then upended Montgomery College 138-124. Commenting to the same website, Mason team captain Hashim Kahn says he hopes the win will elevate the status of cricket at Mason and lead to a dedicated cricket field on campus in the future.

Nair, who says Mason’s team is composed mostly of students but also includes “a couple” alumni, attributes the young squad’s success to the same thing most champions do: hard work.

“The reason our team is good,” he says, “is because of the self-determination each player has, along with the team effort that we put in not just during a game but even while we practice.”

Those who would like to learn more about Mason cricket should plan to attend the annual cricket tournament, which is part of Mason’s International Week celebration, on Sunday, April 10, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. All the action takes place on the Fairfax Campus’ intramural fields 3 and 4.


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