In a year that saw 20 Universities participate in the 2010 American College Cricket Spring Break Championship, followed by 30 in the regional Championships; it’s time to highlight the best from those teams. These Awards are based on performance on the field, and as befits a sport that is now re-establishing its foundation in the USA, it also takes into account off the field performance in furthering cricket. The five 2010 American College Cricket Players of the Year are:

Romel Somavat of Ohio State University.

ROMEL SOMAVAT, Ohio State University
Romel Somavat completed his PhD this year, whilst leading the Buckeyes in the 2010 American College Cricket Spring Break Championship, and being named to the All American team. Active in the local non-collegiate cricket league, the Midwest Cricket League, Somavat ensures the OSU team gets lots of cricket.

On the field the tall Somavat is a dynamic all-rounder, opening the bowling and batting. At the Midwest Championship he was named top all rounder earning the BIG League USA Award, helping his team get to the Finals. Somavat had 2 of the best innings in college cricket this year, smashing 55* off 30 balls against Indiana University, and a tremendous 97 runs against Michigan State.

Off the field he is one of the people who have spoken up to get the grass cut to an appropriate cricket length on the OSU on-campus cricket field.

When American College Cricket announced its first Regional Championships with key support from BIG League USA, Somavat became the main organizer of the ACC Midwest Championship. As if that was not enough he persuaded the Ohio State University President E Gordon Gee to attend the Finals – Colleges in the Big 10 area now play cricket for the E Gordon Gee Trophy and the OSU President is now on the Advisory Board of American College Cricket.

Somavat is quick to point out the work of his teammates, but there is no question Romel Somavat exemplifies the best Ohio State University has to offer.

Adrian Gordon NYU-Poly, came from a strong cricket pedigree, having played for Antigua at the Under 19 level. He has received coaching by the great West Indies fast bowler Andy Roberts, Adam Sanford and Ian Pont.

Adrian Gordon in action. Photo by Shiek Mohamed.

Gordon was first noticed in NYC by Lloyd Jodah for his batting, but soon showed his pace. Next he worked with Jodah to start a cricket team at NYU-Polytechnic. As Captain, Gordon helped his team put on a credible effort at the American College Cricket Spring Break Championship in March 2010, despite the new team’s lack of practice.

Selected as a College All – American Gordon next was included in the USA team to play in Florida against Jamaica, then in Bermuda in the ICC Americas tournament & then in Italy in the World Cricket League Division 4. Though not tall, Gordon generates pace in a manner reminiscent of Malcolm Marshall.

Gordon took 3 for 21 against Tanzania, 3 for 25 against Argentina and wrapped up the tournament by destroying the batting of Italy, taking 4 wickets for 35. Italy had beaten the USA ,earlier in the tournament in a game which Gordon did not play. Against Bahamas he had 2 for 25, and 4 for 38 against the Argentineans in Bermuda. He was also one of the fittest & most athletic fielders.

In the American College Cricket Northeast Championship the  NYU-Poly team captained by Gordon reached the Finals before losing a tight game to Rutgers.

Off the field, Gordon, 22 years old, played a key role in the Northeast Championship then traveled to Washington DC to assist American College Cricket with the Mid Atlantic Championship

MAHJUJ SOURAV, York University

Mahjuj Sourav took 4 wickets for 19 runs to tear through the batting of York College in the Finals of the 2010 American College Cricket Spring Break Championship and ensured his team, York University won the Chanderpaul Trophy, whilst he earned the Best Bowler Award and secured a spot on the All American team.

It had been a hectic few weeks during which Sourav, motivated by Lloyd Jodah and Cricket Canada’s Ravin Moorthy, pulled together a cricket team, arranged for funding & where necessary, booked airline tickets, and did whatever was necessary to get his team to the American College Cricket Championship. Sourav then bowled well & captained York University to an undefeated Championship run.

Winning the American College Cricket Championship gave a huge boost to cricket in Canada, and garnered mainstream Canadian press coverage like the “Globe and Mail”. The York University Media also did a number of features on the team.

Inspired by American College Cricket, Sourav then became the main organizer of a Canadian Universities & Colleges’ Championship for which York University reached the Semis. Lloyd Jodah, American College Cricket President, arranged for Ramnaresh Sarwan to endorse the tournament and provide the Sarwan Trophy to be played for every year going forward.

Sourav’s efforts have highlighted the cricket talent in Canadian Universities – a Combined Universities team beat a Toronto District Cricket Association All Star XI, which included Canadian players like Rezwan Cheema, Jimmy Hansra, Harvir Baidwan, Parth Desai . Sorav took 2 for 13 .

IAN CARLIN, College of Wooster

Ian Carlin was born in Pittsburgh, and grew up a “typical American boy.” he said, ” Growing up I played Football, Baseball, Basketball, and ran Track. I also did other exotic sports such as Semi-Professional Paintball and casual Snowboard. I played football till College. I was intrigued by Cricket, and knew of its massive International following I always wanted to give it a shot so I did. My non-Cricket friends have actually asked a lot about the sport and are interested, it really opened their eyes to how large the sport really is.”

The former Fighting Scot Running Back started out as a fielder, then earned his place on the Wooster team as wicketkeeper/batsman. He is among the best of the many good wicketkeepers in American College Cricket. Carlin also bats at # 4 or 5.

Carlin and the Wooster Cricket team led by Maaz Khan’s efforts, motivated Wooster President Grant Cornwell to have a cricket match for Homecoming, a historic precedent that harkens back to the early 1800’s when cricket was the original American college sport. President Cornwell is now on the Advisory Board of American College Cricket.

Carlin is now the President of the Wooster Cricket Club whilst he pursues a double major in both Political Science and Philosophy.

Carlin is a  massive Pittsburgh Homer for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Pirates, and Penguins. His favorite IPL team is Kolkata Knight Riders his T20 favorite team is Ireland and he often supports India. His cricket hero is Ian Healy – the former Australian wicket keeper batsman.

Of course to be American or to represent America you don’t have to be born in the USA, nevertheless being an American-born cricket player has a value of its own and Ian Carlin demonstrates a vital step College Cricket is making in spreading the game. Ian Carlin is the recipient of the John Bart King Award.*

TARUN SANDHU, University of Southern California
Tarun Sandhu graduated from the University of Southern California  this year with a MA in Public Health as well as a BDS in Dental Surgery. But the 6’6 Sandhu still found time as President & Vice Captain of the USC Trojans Cricket Club to motivate the team to play, and do well in the non-collegiate Southern California Cricket Association tournaments.

Sandhu was instrumental in the Trojans’ participation in the 2010 American College Cricket Spring Break Championship. A monumental organizing task, coming all the way from California to the American College Cricket Stadium in Florida. This established the Trojans as a key foundation of College Cricket, for the entire West Coast.

Did I mention he also opens the batting and bowling for the Trojans ? Sandhu’s run-up is fluid and a beauty to watch, and reminds one a bit of Michael Holding. As a batsman he showed his shots at the recent American College Cricket West Coast Championship, attracting the camera of the LA Daily News photographer present. The USC Trojans cricket team won the first West Coast Championship, which was played at the venerable and beautiful Woodley Fields.

Sandhu was a key element in beginning the cricket rivalry with UCLA – longtime USC rivals in just about everything . The result was an exciting game on  the USC campus at Cromwell Field, under lights, preceded by the USC Marching Band and Cheerleaders. This rivalry, played for the Sentence-Varma Trophy, will be a high point in USA cricket each year.

*From Philadelphia, John “Bart” King was described by Don Bradman as “America’s greatest cricketing son”. King pioneered swing bowling.