It was the perfect night Friday as the University of Miami Indian students faced off against the West Indies students in their first ever 20/20 cricket match at the Intramural Fields.
It was a night where competition, fanfare, culture and excitement all came together for this highly anticipated matchup between the two club teams.
“After attending the university for two years, I realized that although the game of cricket was popular in both the West Indies and India, it was not promoted on campus and [it] lost precedence to traditional college sports – basketball, baseball [and] football,” said Kalpesh Patel, captain of the West Indies team and the visionary who put the match together.
From this initial idea to this week’s historic first cricket match, the process of organizing the event was marked by true passion and dedication.
“It was then that I approached the boards of the Indian Student’s Association, the Trinidad and Tobago Cultural Association and the Organization for Jamaican Unity to promote the game to its members,” Patel said. “Almost immediately we had a great response.”
This great response translated into a great night of cricket.
The night kicked off at 7:30 p.m., as both teams, with full 11 player rosters, took the field in front of a crowd of 35 enthused fans.
Clad in red and black, the West Indies players and fans set the tone early on, as their excitement and passion filled the atmosphere.
The atmosphere remained fiery and flavorful throughout the night by the West Indies-dominated audience, despite the fact that the Indian team took the match by more than 50 runs.
“It was a great night,” said Balram Adlakha, captain of the Indian team. “It’s not because we won but because of how things turned out. It was fun, but it was serious as well. It even got heated at one point. It felt like a real cricket match.”
In the words of Patel, “The match was a great success. The cricket was competitive, and the fans were great.”
After the great success of this inaugural match, Patel plans on continuing on with his endeavor to popularize cricket at the University of Miami.
The first step is to schedule a rematch between the Indian and West Indies teams, who requested a second match within seconds of the end of the first.
Patel said he plans on putting together a rematch sometime in November, where he foresees an even greater turnout based on the excitement that was drawn by this first match.
For this second matchup, Patel plans on having food, drinks and a band. These additional elements are commonplace at cricket matches and Patel believes that they will help add to the game and experience.
Besides this, Patel is looking into seeing if students from other countries – such as England, Pakistan and others – would like to put together teams and get involved in these 20/20 matches.
Said Patel, about his plans, “If we are going to get people interested in the game, we have to show them that cricket is not only a game out in the middle but also an experience of energy, vibes and festival.”