Final match was telecast live by ESPN3, TV Asia.
By Deepak Chitnis
WASHINGTON, DC: A cricket team from the University of South Florida (USF), comprised almost entirely of Indian-origin players, has won the American College Cricket (ACC) championship for 2014.
The final match, which featured the USF team topping the one from Auburn University’s Cricket Club, was also the first cricket game ever played in the US to be broadcast live by ESPN 3 and TV Asia. A total of 25 teams from all over the US participated in the tournament, a staggering increase from the mere six that competed in 2009.
And the one non-Indian player on the USF team? He’s of Pakistani origin.
“Once again, American College Cricket [has] taken the game higher, benefiting every cricketer, every fan in the USA and Canada,” said ESPN correspondent Lloyd Jodah on the ACC’s official website. “ESPN had been interested in broadcasting American College Cricket from since the first year, whilst TV Asia stepped forward in 2011 and began televising American College Cricket from Oct 2011. We felt the time was right this year, to do both and I cannot praise enough TV Asia’s investment in, and commitment to American College Cricket.”
Several players from the USF team also picked up individual commendations for their performances during the tournament. Sai Ramesh, a student from Chennai, picked up the award for Most Valuable Player (MVP), and was also declared the tournament’s best player; Ramesh is also the captain of the USF squad. Hyderabadi student Karthik Achanta also contended for MVP, and the trophy for the winner is called the Chanderpaul Trophy.
Auburn’s team also has a plethora of Indian-origin players, including captain Abhishek Kulkarni, “new batting sensation” Sam Selvaraj, and “big vetean” Vibodh Misra, who hit five fours during his time at bat. But USF put on a dominating performance, and ultimately walked away with the victory.
The victory was especially sweet, as it was USF’s first since becoming one of the first colleges to found the ACC cricket championship in 2009 – Boston University, Montgomery College, Carnegie Mellon and University of Miami were the other four. This year, the rankings had the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) and the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) at #1 and #2, respectively.