Where Ram Meyyappan goes, so does cricket.
There are few greater advocates for the game than Meyyappan, a 25-year-old who just finished his degree in math and commerce from the University of Victoria. The world’s second-most popular sport has followed him from Chennai, India, to Victoria, and he’s behind the game’s revival as a university sport.
He started a school team when he arrived at Malaspina College in 2006 which played a couple of matches against a club from UBC. He did it again when he enrolled at UVic in 2009, and this weekend the club team is hosting its first university-level tournament.
It’s not the first university cricket club in town, but it’s the first in a long time.
“Once when I got (to the Island), I kept track of the sport (in India) through the Internet, and I missed playing and watching (live). With enough interest at UVic, I figured, ‘Why not have a club there?’”
Visiting this weekend are club teams from the University of Fraser Valley, Kwantlen Polytechnic University and University of Calgary.
They’ll play a round robin tournament at Beacon Hill Park and Windsor Park, with matches at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Sunday (July 1) and Monday, with the top two teams facing each other in Monday’s final, at 2 p.m. at Beacon Hill.
Matches are 20 overs per inning, which will limit them to about three hours each.
Ironically, Meyyappan’s level of commitment to the game in Victoria far exceeds anything he would have done if he’d stayed in India to study, or didn’t forego his scholarship to New York University due to a visa complication.
“Where I come from, you don’t take any time off school, not even four months of a semester, which NYU had asked me to do.”
Originally Meyyappan’s plan was to complete a doctorate, either in his home country, or NYU.
“Because I chose to come here, I was afforded a little extra time during my bachelor studies to explore things, such as cricket.”
The school year was Meyyappan’s last at UVic and he is now in the process of passing the cricket team on to a new president to carry it on. Until he leaves, however, Meyyappan will continue to build the team by expanding its competitive playing season.
“(The team) just applied to play in some tournaments against clubs from the U.S.A.”
There’s no formal university cricket league in the west, though there are 12 teams in the Ontario and Quebec CanUCric league.
On Saturday (June 30), the best of the Victoria and District Cricket Association will host a match at Beacon Hill Park against a representative squad of B.C. Mainland Cricket League players, beginning at noon.
For information on the Victoria and District Cricket Association visit VDCA.ca.