The University of Toledo Cricket Club is one of 24 teams that will play in the American College Cricket National Championships starting March 15 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
The club advanced to the nationals by finishing second in the 2016 American College Cricket Midwest Championship, where the top 12 universities competed for the Midwest Region Gordon Gee Championship.
Under the captainship of Raj Patel, the UT Cricket Club defeated 2016 season champion Wayne State University in the semifinals and secured its place in the nationals. UT beat Wayne State in October at Lyon Oaks Cricket Field in Wixom, Mich.
With that win, the UT club became the new No. 2 team in the Midwest. League play for UT included facing Penn State University and Ryerson University.
“It was a dream come true for all the team to take UT to the national level in cricket. Beating Wayne State University was a very tough task as they are a pretty strong team and winners in the past,” said Yogendra Patil, right arm fast bowler and batsmen. “I am looking forward for the nationals in March. Me and the team will give 100 percent to bring home the trophy — #gorockets!”
Not only did UT finish as runners-up in the Midwest, the Player of the Series Award went to UT alumnus Rohan Kapkar for his all-round performance, and most valuable player was given to UT student Akshay Chawan, right arm fast bowler, batsman and secretary of the club.
“The UT Cricket Club is looking forward to competing and winning nationals in March,” Mohammad Wadood Majid, opening batsman and president of the club, said.
“We hope to bring the trophy to our very own Toledo,” Nitesh Ralhan, club coach, added.
“While others were dreaming of success, we woke up, practiced hard, and gave everything to achieve it,” Chawan said. “For me, it’s a dream to play in such a big tournament in the USA, but to win I never imagined. It’s impossible to explain what I felt at that moment — just very happy to win. Winning a national championship in Florida is the No. 1 target now.”
The team has been playing together for two years and set out to compete in big tournaments this year. UT students and recent alumni comprise the team. According to the American College Cricket Midwest Championship rules, two recent alumni are allowed to play.
People interested in watching a cricket match can find games at Beatty Park in Toledo; Lyon Oaks Cricket Field in Wixom, Mich.; and Murphy Park in Pontiac, Mich. Fan also can watch on Sony Six Live and ESPN.