Atlantis Cricket Club – NY, now celebrating its 55th year as a premier cricketing organization in New York, is also celebrating the 20th anniversary of its Shevonne Mentis Educational Scholarship Fund established in 2001 in memory of the daughter of Aubrey Mentis, a life-long member of Atlantis. Shevonne Mentis died tragically in the World Trade Center attack on September 11, 2001.
The scholarship fund, a brainchild of then Atlantis president John Aaron, was widely supported by the club’s Executive Board, its members, and supporters. A separate account was established apart from the club’s operating expense accounts, and 10% of the net proceeds from all fundraising activities are deposited into the education fund account. Those contributions are supplemented by the generosity of individuals and other organizations that continue to make personal donations to the fund. During the fund’s 20-year history, more than 30 young men and women, all first-year college students, have received stipends from the fund and have attended colleges such as Harvard, CUNY, Nassau Community College, Bard College, University of New Mexico, and NYC College of Technology,
One of this year’s recipients is Ali Bukhari, a first-year student at Stony Brook University on Long Island, NY. The wicket-keeper batsman was born to Uzbek parents while they resided in Peshawar, Pakistan. Ali has no memory of growing up in Peshawar, where another club is known as Atlantis Cricket Club-Peshawar, established following the participation of its founder Suleman Ahmad with Atlantis Cricket Club – NY in 2018 and this year. Ali Bukhari grew up with his parents in the United Arab Emirates before moving to New York.
The culturally diverse college freshman says, “I was born to Uzbek parents, who were also biracial because my mom is from Kazan, Russia, and my dad’s family is from Uzbekistan, Bukhara, and Samarkand, to be exact. I grew up in a pretty diverse region of the world, so I was exposed to a cultural mix. As for me personally, since my ancestors had to leave their country during the war and settled in almost all corners of the world, my family has picked up a lot of different cultural traits, which include central Asian, American, and Arab cultures.”
The Stony Brook health sciences major has one older sister who also attended Stony Brook University. Ali’s earlier education included attending Ras al Khaimah Academy from grades 9-11. He then did his year 12th and 13th-year education at Gems Westminster School Ras al Khaimah, where he graduated as Headboy. Expected to graduate in 2023 from Stony Brook, the very articulate young cricketer has his eye on becoming a professional cricketer with a backup plan of becoming a surgeon one day.
As one of three 2021 recipients of an Atlantis scholarship stipend, Ali Bukhar said, “I would wholeheartedly like to thank everyone at Atlantis Cricket Club – NY for the support they have given me. It was very kind of the club to help me out, especially with Covid-19 being such a problem. I would sincerely like to say thank you to all the members of the club who have taken me in and made my move to the USA a pleasant experience.”
The young man started playing cricket at the age of 10 and has played cricket in the United Arab Emirates for Sharjah Cricket Academy, ICC Academy Dubai, and GM Cricket Academy.
Ali Bukhari also commented on his favorite International cricketers, “There are a few cricketers I admire. Players, such as Jos Buttler, Tim Paine, Eoin Morgan, Virat Kohli, and Shahid Afridi, to narrow it down. I believe Jos Buttler is the finest white-ball batsman since Brendon McCullum, who also used to be my favorite when I was younger. Still, Buttler is a great batsman, a leader, and someone who has tons of ability and composure, playing the shots he does, and when he plays them, it is the mark of someone who isn’t just talented but mentally strong and intelligent.” Adding, “Jos Buttler is the reason I have the number 63 on my Atlantis playing jersey.
I think the dignity with which Tim Paine carries himself and the fact that his batting is so underrated makes me like him. Again, he is intelligent and one of the finest captains of the Australian team since Ricky Ponting. Eoin Morgan is a terrific batsman who can hit the ball miles, has terrific batting style and stance, and is a great captain for England. As for Virat Kohli, you cannot be associated with cricket if you do not appreciate him. He is the finest batsman of all time; I don’t love some of his antics while fielding, but there is no denying he is the finest player the sport has seen. As for Shahid Afridi, he was the first real star of cricket, all action, and was good at everything with the ability to turn a match on its head. I have seen plenty of matches he single-handily won, with his batting or bowling.”
Asked, which is his favorite International cricket team, he opined that it has to be England in white-ball cricket and Australia in red ball/pink-ball cricket—adding that the West Indies and New Zealand are close seconds in white-ball cricket, as well. He loves the IPL, BBL, LSL, and CPL tournaments. Offering that he loved the IPL, however, it has become a little too commercialized, although the quality of T20 cricket in the IPL is higher than in International cricket.
On why he chose to join Atlantis Cricket Club – NY, the right-handed batsman responded, “From the first bit of correspondence I received from the club, it was clear that Atlantis was a club doused in tradition and quality cricketers. There was also a strong sense of community and camaraderie in Atlantis. I think that is very important in any sports organization,” adding, “Furthermore interacting with some of the players, I realized how much more there is for me to learn, and that is also a factor in me joining the club – to improve and get better. Atlantis is also a club that treats its members like family, and I find that quite comforting because I am far away from my family.”
The aspiring young cricketer has represented Atlantis in a few matches this season and says it is an honor, and he’s grateful for the opportunity to represent the club. He said, “Every time I walk out unto the field wearing the Atlantis colors, it is up to me to uphold the values and dignity of the club, which is something I look forward to.”
About Atlantis Cricket Club – NY
Atlantis was founded in 1966, and the club is involved in community activities beyond the boundary, such as Habitat for Humanity, Toys for Kids, Atlantis Cares – Food and Clothing Drives, and The Shevonne Mentis Educational Scholarship Fund, which benefits first-time college students.
Atlantis’ Mission is simple – promote and help the game of cricket grow in the United States through men, women, and youth cricket initiatives, encourage a sense of camaraderie among its members, play excellent and competitive cricket, and be socially involved in activities that benefit its members and the community-at-large.
The club is a New York Metropolitan District Cricket Association member and plays competitive hardball cricket in New York. The club’s motto is Atlantis…more than just cricket!