HKU introduces a new sport!

April 18, 2012 / by / 4 Comments

The HKU Cricket Team

Coming from Pakistan, a country wherein cricket is treated as a religion and is perhaps the biggest talking point in our daily lives, I was apprehensive about losing my love and passion for the “gentlemen’s game” by coming to The University of Hong Kong. However, all these doubts of mine were soon erased when some cricket-lovers, including myself, were invited by HKU-Cricket Club captain Mick Fisher, for a social match at HKU’s Stanley Ho Sport Centre, even before the start of our first semester. The match was perfect. It was heartening to see a cricket ground at very our University, considering the lack of grounds in Hong Kong. I must confess – I loved my first cricket experience in Hong Kong.

I played with students and other social expatriates from countries like India, Sri-Lanka, Australia, England and Bangladesh for the first time. I have made some great friends on and off the pitch. In fact, we still talk about that first match a lot. Who would have known that over the past 2 years since our first match, all of us would develop strong, everlasting friendships apart from a cricket team of our own. Of the few who participated in the first match, some showed great potential and continued to play for HKU – Cricket Club in the following successful season.

Playing for HKU – Cricket Club has not only been a matter of pride but a dream come true, especially for a South Asian like myself. Representing a University Team in any sport is pinnacle. Being a part of the team is an honor for us, while for others, it is also a ticket to the national side. Along with a few other interested students who regularly feature in the social league, I pondered about having our very own recognized cricket team with increasing numbers of HKU International students from cricket playing nations.

I still remember the time we were able to put a full HKU Students team together of seven players captained by John Wright, a former HKU PhD student and now HKUCC Saturday League Captain, for the HKU Sixes in 2010. It was an ethereal feeling playing for HKU. We walked in with unmatched enthusiasm and had an extra stride in every step on the field. We played quite well for our first outing and our club seniors could easily see the potential in us. From then on, we decided to form a cricket team and were able to find a pool of thirteen to fourteen interested students. Ankit Suri, a team member whom I met on the very first exhibition match, is quite influential and motivates us all along the way. Tiran Ranasinghe, the first ever student to play for HKU – Club team, who had been trying single-handedly to establish some sort of cricket team over the years in HKU, was a source of great support. Our 2010 – 2013 batch of students, with decent quantity and quality of players, was a ray of hope for a new HKU Students’ cricket team.

Luckily, after a lot of negotiations and requests, we were able to get a 3 – match cricket series against HKUST, our local rival university in all aspects; cricket being the latest one. We hosted a 3 – match series in the second semester of the academic year 2010-2011. Unexpectedly, the matches turned out to be really competitive, feisty, and nail biting. They also attracted a lot of crowd attention. Clearly, we could see a change.  The tournament was all tied at 1-1 when both the teams went in for a decider in late April. The match was tough, and the rainy conditions made it even tougher. However, on that day, HKU was on top of their game, defeated HKUST, and clinched the first ever university bi-lateral cricket series in Hong Kong. Ironically, it was the last match for our very first HKU Student team captain John who deserved to go on a high after leading us to our debut series’ win.

The Team after their Victory!

After our victory, the team demanded for more matches and possibly, an official recognition. With numerous efforts from a few students and clubs alike, we were able to give HKU Student Cricket Team an official status exactly six months after our historic win. With the new batch of players, our team got the necessary variety it lacked and is now shaping up to be stronger. We’ve been able to build a strong base of players with 30+ students in the loop training every week. As a team, we are registered under HKCA for Challenge League 2012. Furthermore, we are also recognized by HKCA that now wishes to expand cricket amongst the locals through our platform. Currently, we are focusing on getting new players from different parts of the world to join us.

Introducing the New Sport and Welcoming New Talent!

As of now, we have a wide range of full time Undergraduate, Exchange and Postgraduate students from countries like Pakistan, India, Sri-Lanka, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, England and Bangladesh playing for us. We wish to expand cricket, especially amongst the locals, through various new initiatives such as cricket-based presentations in Global Lounge, Tape Ball tournament for starters, Cricket Coaching and training facilities, and a social media profile for interacting with fellow players and cricket discussions. With support from the University, we aim to solidify this new game at HKU for all the prospective students. As captain of the HKU Cricket Team it is an honor to represent the diverse and talented bunch of players, both male and female I may add, on to the field. You can find us on Facebook if you have any questions and queries regarding our team or cricket in general. We’ve sown the seeds of a completely new game at HKU for all of you to enjoy, and the feeling of such an accomplishment is extremely satisfying for everyone involved!

Mahad Naseer

HKU Student Team Captain