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U of S cricket club hosts co-ed tournament

(John Flatters/CTV News) (John Flatters/CTV News)
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Members of the University of Saskatchewan cricket club are hosting a first-of-its-kind event, and they’re hoping to grow the game on campuses across the country.

While there’s still snow on the ground, students nearing the end of another year of studies are eager to get some exercise and healthy competition.

“This is the first time we hosted this and it's our very first time in Canada also where we are hosting this male and female tournament all together in the same team,” said Saad Mostafiz, president of the U of S Cricket Club and member of the U of S Sharks.

“So we are looking forward to more tournaments.”

More than 50 players spread across five teams are competing indoors in a modified cricket format called T-5, which moves much faster than traditional formats, and games last less than an hour.

“T-5 tournament so there's five overs max,” Mostafiz said.

“So each team has 20 minutes to complete their first innings or second innings. So 20 minutes is a timeline, after that, they're going to face the penalty.”

With computerized scoring and official umpires, they also use a modified tennis ball wrapped in tape for indoor play. With the ball and the surface, players say it takes practice to read the bounce.

“The ball doesn't bounce so much on this kind of surface because I think this is a basketball surface,” said Sahrima Oishwee, U of S master's student in computer science.

“We are using a taped tennis and the ball is just rounded over the tape. It's not bouncing that much, so we have to maintain the line so that the batsman doesn't get the chance to hit it hard.”

Oishwee said the co-ed component is making it an enjoyable experience for everyone, and she thinks the game will grow quickly.

“Sometimes males are being very aggressive in the bowling stand,” said Oishwee. “But here is a very good thing. They are very respectful to the women, so we are enjoying the game. We are having a very fair game, and we can show our strength in the bowling and batting as well.”

And with the stress of being a student and the long winters, she’s excited to be getting active and sharing the fun of competition.

“That is very good for our mental health as well,” Oishwee said. “Because sometimes we become very depressed and frustrated with our studies and lots of issues. So this is one of the great things that can heal our mental health and keep up the good work and everything.”

Mostafiz hopes to have competitions between universities in the future.

“We're looking forward to doing a joint venture with other universities to play T-10 leagues with taped tennis,” he said.

“We can fly or drive to the university if they have any pitch, or they can come and back and forth like that. So if universities are interested in that they can contact us at usaskcricketclub@gmail.com, or cricket@usask.ussu.”

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