To all of our Alumni – have a very happy and very safe Cinco de Mayo!
This year marks the fourth time that the USF University Cricket Club made it to national finals, but this year there was a distinct different that left the players – – and the fans! – – speechless. This year, the Bulls won the championship!
“We were desperate to put up a show and win for the supporters who were cheering for us on TV, in the stadium and, most importantly, for USF,” said Vishwaksena Reddy Vuppunutula, an international USF graduate student who plays the all-rounder position on the team. He has been on the team for six months. He initially learned how to play cricket when he was 10-years-old from his cousin, and he came to USF last fall to pursue a master’s in engineering management, but he picked USF because of its strong cricket reputation. He believes that cricket is growing within the United States, noting the coverage on ESPN3 as a sign of increasing popularity. Vuppunutula said the USF team was committed 100 percent to winning this tournament, held March 16th in Ft. Lauderdale, and credits their high spirits for helping them perform so well under pressure. “We felt that we earned a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and we had to make the most out of it,” he said.
The USF Cricket Club President, Himavanth Reddy Ganta, also from Hyderabad, has been playing cricket since the age of six. He is currently an international student at USF looking to earn his master’s in electrical engineering. He said many students he knows have looked toward USF as their school of choice because of the cricket club. Ganta acknowledged the skill of the teams that they competed against, recalling a thought he had during the quarter-finals of the championship. “I feel like I am watching international standard [cricket] when I am watching them play,” he said, referring to Ryerson University from Canada. “And we beat them.”
At their fourth final in six years, it was time to face Auburn, whom they had defeated in the Southeast Regional Championship. The Bulls had thought this one through, too. “We know the mistakes of what we did last time, and it was the same team as last time,” Ganta said. The team practices once a week for almost four hours, where they focus on team bonding and avoiding those past mistakes. Even with those high spirits and practiced moves, though, Vuppunutula and Ganta both felt speechless after the win.
Ganta said he greatly appreciates many people who helped USF’s cricket club build toward a national championship, including past presidents of the club and club founder Hanumanthu, who acted as mentor to the team.
Nice to see that our ol’ Alma Mater is still producing winning students, not just in education, but in sports as well! Congrats to the Cricket Team for their big win!
For the full story, check out http://news.usf.edu/article/templates/?a=6150