College cricket and its future in the OCAA

Ahmed Patel, Mohin Vadiwala, Sukhvinder Singh, Miraj Patel and Taqi Baig of the men’s extramural indoor cricket team. (Alexandra Martino) Ahmed Patel, Mohin Vadiwala, Sukhvinder Singh, Miraj Patel and Taqi Baig of the men’s extramural indoor cricket team. (Alexandra Martino)
By Alexandra Martino

First year business management student Shorya Dogra recalled watching the highly anticipated ICC Cricket World Cup match between India and Pakistan played in Australia earlier this month.

“I went to watch the game at the Hershey Centre (in Mississauga) with my friends, it was very exciting to be in there,” he said of the sport expected to gain varsity status in the next few years.

The screening event was attended by hundreds of South Asian Canadians staying up into the early hours of the morning to watch the whole match.

For many students at Humber, cricket is the sport of choice, and the Cricket World Cup is as important to them as the FIFA World Cup.   “Many international students are gathering on weekends to watch the games on the big screen,” said Matthew Keefe, an advisor at Humber’s North campus International Centre.

Taqi Baig, a coach for Humber’s extramural, indoor cricket team and convenor of the intramural indoor cricket program, explained how the team has been keeping up with the World Cup.

“Members are extremely excited. Almost every player watches every match of the team they are supporting,” Baig said.

Humber’s indoor cricket players have taken their passion for the sport and made it into an activity that allows matches to be played in spite of the Canadian climate.

The indoor version uses a different scoring system than outdoor cricket and is more spatially limited than the large circular fields cricket is normally played in.

In spite of such differences, indoor cricket programs have seen steady interest not only at Humber, but a number of schools in the area.

The interest in the sport has led to the OCAA fielding the idea of including cricket as a varsity sport.

“It’s come up in a couple of (annual general meetings) and they are definitely interested in moving forward with it,” said Michael Kopinak, associate director of Humber athletics.

Cricket’s inclusion is in discussion as the OCAA considers new sports. That ongoing conversation has Baig optimistic about the results down the line should the sport go varsity.

“It will give a boost to cricket in terms understanding and participation and we would be able to play outdoor games, which is a totally different compared to the games we play indoors,” Baig said.

There are some potential difficulties cricket may have becoming an OCAA varsity sport.

“The challenge that comes up is there may only be a male team so it may not create a gender balance, but it will definitely bring a balance to diversity,” Kopinak said.