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Fans Bowled Over by New Cup

Published: May 16, 2006 (Issue # 1169)


A cricket tournament for international students played from Thursday to Sunday was the first of its kind in St. Petersburg.

The pitch was not exactly as clipped as Lord’s, the ball was borrowed from another sport and the British team crashed out early, but participants in the The St. Petersburg Cricket Cup 2006 brought to the city the passion of one of the world’s most popular and perplexing sports.

The tournament, which took place at the Polytechnic Institute Stadium near Ploshchad Muzhestva, gathered eight teams from four continents.

A team of Indian players, India 11, won the tournament Sunday, beating team Diamond, a combined team of Indian and Pakistani students.

The traditional cricketing rivalry between India and Pakistan is often seen as a peaceful alternative to political conflict between the two nations. But on Sunday, politics was present anyway.

“The political discussions will always be there, but it is everywhere — also in football,” organizer Lanson George, an Indian, said.

A team from the British Council fell in the first knockout round to a World 11 made up of engineering students from all over the world.

Cricket, played between two teams of eleven players on a oval grass field with a 20.12 meter flat pitch in the middle, is a bat-and-ball sport from the same family as baseball and softball.

Orginating in England, the sport is wildly popular in countries of the former British Empire and its complex rules and rich folklore often make it baffling to spectators not steeped in its traditions.

A professional cricket match can last up to five days, but at the St. Petersburg Cricket Cup, matches were shortened to wrap up the tournament in one weekend.

The equipment used was not exactly up to regulation standard either.

“We have the bats from home, because we cannot buy the proper equipment in Russia,” organizer Zahid Ahmid said as he dribbled the tennis ball that substituted for a proper cricket ball, which is a hard leather ball about the size of a fist.

Without the correct protective equipment, playing with a real cricket ball can be lethal.

Approximately 40 cricket fans, mainly medical students from South Asian countries, cheered loudly when the final began.

Umpires, who followed tradition and wore ties and hats, kept the match moving as the young students bowled, batted and ran as best they could.

Whenever the ball was in play, the attacking team was ever eager to destroy its opponent’s wicket.

When the tennis ball hit the wicket, putting out the batsman defending it, the attacking team celebrated as if they had scored a goal in soccer.

The final was a four-hour thriller in which India 11 trailed to the Diamonds for the most of the game, but recovered and won by a single run to take home the inaugural St. Petersburg Cricket Cup.

The spectators also enjoyed the sporting spectacle.

“I never thought I was going to see this game in this country,” a thrilled fan said during the match.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Wednesday, Oct. 22


English teachers can expect to receive a few useful pointers today from Evgeny Kalashnikov, the British Council regional teacher, during the EFL Seminar this afternoon hosted by the British Book Center. The topic of today’s seminar is “Grammar Practice.”


Young Petersburgers will get the chance to jumpstart their careers at “Professional Growth,” a job fair and forum featuring more than 40 major Russian and international companies vying for potential candidates for future positions. The forum not only is a chance to network but also to learn more about the modern business world and to understand what it takes to get the job you want.



Thursday, Oct. 23


AmCham’s Public Relations Committee meeting is scheduled to meet this morning at 9 a.m. in their office in the New St. Isaac Office Center.


Sportsmen get their chance to stock up on all kinds of gear at the Hunting and Fishing 2014 exhibition starting today at Lenexpo. Everything from rods and reels to boats, motorcycles and equipment for underwater hunting will be on sale so that any avid outdoorsman can always be prepared.



Friday, Oct. 24


SPIBA’s ongoing “Breakfast with the Director” series continues today, featuring Tomas Hajek, Managing Director of the Northwest Division at Danone Russia. Hajek will be discussing collaborations between businesses from different cultures. The meeting is at 9 a.m. at the Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel and all who wish to attend must confirm their participation by Oct. 23.


Get your gong on at “Sounds of the Universe,” a concert at the city planetarium this evening incorporating six different gongs to create relaxing songs that will transport you upwards into the stratosphere. Tickets are 700 rubles ($17).



Saturday, Oct. 25


AVA Expo, the eighth edition of the event revolving around all things pop culture, returns to Lenexpo this weekend. Geeks, nerds, dweebs and dorks will have their chance to talk science fiction and explore a variety of international pop culture. Tickets for the event can be purchased on their website at avaexpo.ru.



Sunday, Oct. 26


Zenit St. Petersburg returns home for the first time in nearly a month as they host Mordovia Saransk in a Russian Premier League game. Currently at the top of the league thanks to their undefeated start to the season, the northern club hopes to extend the gap between them and second-place CSKA Moscow and win the title for the first time in three years. Tickets are available at the stadium box office or on the club’s website.



Monday, Oct. 27


Today marks the end of the art exhibit “Neophobia” at the Erarta Museum. Artists Alexey Semichov and Andrei Kuzmin took a neo-modernist approach to represent the array of fears that are ever-present throughout our lives. Tickets are 200 rubles ($4.90).



Tuesday, Oct. 28


The Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel plays host to SPIBA’s Marketing and Communications Committee’s round table discussion on “Government Relations Practices in Russia” this morning. The discussion starts at 9:30 a.m. and participation must be confirmed by Oct. 24.



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