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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.





 


Times Talk

ALL ABOUT TOWN

Thursday, Apr. 24


Learn more about Denmark during the Danish Business Delegation’s visit to SPIBA this evening starting at 5:30 p.m. at the Danish Culture Institute. Danish Consul general Klaus Sorensen will be in attendance and the buffet following a presentation on Danish companies in Russia will be the perfect opportunity to network with the assembled businessmen.


AmCham’s Human Resources Committee Meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m. this morning in their St. Petersburg office. Check their website for more details.



Friday, Apr. 25


Light Music presents the main events for their Cultural Kitchen project at Loft-Project Etagi today. A B2B event that focuses on Finnish food, arts, travel, music and design, the evening will conclude with a dinner by chef Jyrki Tsutsunen and dancing to music by Aino Venna. The event, which began yesterday with presentations by tourism and cultural institutions, concludes today with a preview of Finland’s Flow festival and other musical events. Invitations are available from www.culturalkitchen.fi.



Saturday, Apr. 26


At 6 p.m. this evening, stylist Liliana Modigliani offers 50 simple ways to up your style quotient with beauty tips at the Galeria shopping center on Ligovsky Prospekt. The event is part of the final day of the shopping mall’s Fashion Saturday sales event, this week focusing on top brands located on the ground floor as well as presentation from fashion experts on sprucing up your spring look.



Sunday, Apr. 27


Families shouldn’t miss Childhood Planet 2014, the trade fair that started yesterday and concludes today at LenExpo. Not only will goods and services be provided for children and families but the event hopes to promote Russian brands and eco-friendly products using the latest technology available in the childcare industry.



Monday, Apr. 28


The Hotel Indigo will be the site of SPIBA’s Acting Skills for HR and Other Managers master class this morning starting at 9 a.m. The event will begin with coffee before moving on to the class itself and conclude with a tour of the recently opened hotel. Confirm attendance by Apr. 24.



Tuesday, Apr. 29


Improve your English at the British Book Center’s Interactive English Lesson tonight at 6 p.m. Students at pre-intermediate and intermediate levels are welcome discuss topics that are selected to help learners master the more difficult aspects of English grammar and vocabulary.