The Davis Cricket Club
Cricket originated in England, but over time has been become a game recognized by more and more nations worldwide. The Davis Cricket Club carries on the tradition of spirited competition by priding itself in international diversity. Although this club was founded in 1980 by current captain and bowler for one of the league teams, Dan Sahadeo, the members have helped promote unity throughout the community in a short amount of time. “It’s a good outlet. It’s a multinational club,” Dan said. “I think people enjoy the cosmopolitan feel.” It definitely becomes an outlet for players who are away from their home countries and want to maintain a connection to their cultural ties.
Many people compare cricket to baseball and while there are some similarities, it’s important to notice the differences. Each team starts out with 11 players and, like baseball, whichever team accumulates the most runs wins the game. The team playing defense has a bowler (equivalent to a pitcher in baseball) throw the ball to the batsmen called a striker who hits the ball to score the runs.
The Davis Cricket Club has 85 total players and offers teams in two different leagues for these players, based on their level of skill. The Sacramento Cricket league is designed for junior players who are looking to improve, but have to worry about stiff competition. Dan said the league gives these young players a little more exposure. “They can try to better their own games,” said Nirav Shah, club secretary and member of the NCCA Davis team. “There is no pressure in winning and losing the games.”
Nirav explained that some of these players come in at 13 or 14 years old and improve on their games as they get older. Then, when they have reached a certain point at which they are good enough to compete with the older, more seasoned players, they move to the club’s other league team. This other league – the Davis Cricket Club -is usually for the players who have more polished skills in the game. The team has been in the A Division as a part of the Northern California Cricket Association for the past few years, but this year it was moved down to the B Division.
Despite having won three championships back-to-back prior to last year, the team’s goal this season is to climb back among the elite opposition. Nirav believes the team can reach its championship goals after losing in the semifinals last season.
He said much of last year’s earlier-than-expected exit had more to do with injuries to key players than anything opposing teams did against them on the field. “We feel very confident,” Nirav said. “There is no reason we cannot win in a lower division than the one we play in normally.”
So far, Nirav has backed up his talk quite effectively as his team boasts a record of 4-2 about a quarter of the way through the season, while the other league team is a respectable 3-3. The NCCA team’s only two losses came to Union City and Valley-II, but Davis still remains at the top of the division. Since the team holds only a one game advantage over the second-place team, Nirav sees an opportunity to increase their lead over the division competitors by beating these two teams when they meet later in the year. With the season going until October, Nirav and the team still have plenty of time to establish their dominance on the rest of the division. “We had a losing season last year,” Dan said. “We got fired up to do better this season.”
Even though Nirav has been with the Davis Cricket Club for 10 years, his drive for the game could be seen at an early age, when he first played cricket as young boy in India. When he moved to Davis, this club proved to be the outlet he needed to keep his passion for cricket alive.
Yet Nirav and Dan know that playing cricket for the Davis team has become more than just game. Over the years, the club has given them friends they would have never met outside of the team. “Everybody is together in this club,” Nirav said. “The people I meet on the field are good friends off the field. It’s almost like a family.” Dan, meanwhile, is especially impressed with how a cricket can bring players from around the globe together, which continues to give the NCCA league higher levels of competition. “There are a lot of good teams every year. Every year, teams are getting better and better,” Dan said.
Nevertheless, the Davis club doesn’t always concentrate on league games, but finds time to schedule social cricket games between different teams representing a certain country. For instance, Dan said it is common to have a weekend match between Sri Lanka and the West Indies in which the Davis community can attend. It’s not just about bringing the club players closer together, but inviting the Davis community to be a part of the experience as well. “That’s the whole reason I love the club – the diversity,” Nirav said. “I find out about different parts of cultures I never knew existed, like music. We get awareness from the people in Davis and have them come out and watch.”
Nirav said it is this type of support that ensures this club will be here for many more years. As of now, the club relies on a fund-raiser committee to help organize its games as well as raise money for the club. The money they raise often goes toward club fees and replacing and adding cricket equipment. The main goal off the field this year is to raise money for a new bowling machine. Nirav and Dan are optimistic they will raise the money and have it ready for use by next season.
Nirav and Dan both agree that despite the team’s championship goals, they just want the players to develop an appreciation for the game and continue learning new skills to apply to cricket. “We want them to just keeping having fun and getting better,” Nirav said. For Nirav, the Davis Cricket Club has opened his eyes to new challenges and let him explore the complexities of cultures from all different nations. “It’s good to welcome different cultures,” Nirav said. “(The club) really gives a lesson in life as well.”
In addition to providing the players with invaluable teachings that can apply to their lives off the field, Nirav said that as long as the teams realize passion can be the essential driving force for their success, everything else will take care of itself. “If we just keeping having fun, the results will speak for themselves,” he said. “And the accolades and awards will come from it.”
Soon people won’t be able to ignore the club. People will catch on. With so many countries united under one game, and the club message firmly in place, the success and popularity of the Davis Cricket Club will undoubtedly rise. It’s only a matter of time.
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