IUPUI becomes the first university with six batches of students completing USA Center for Excellence in Cricket Education Program

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By Yash Khandor: December 17, 2019

Ric Charlesworth famously said – “The interesting thing about coaching is that you have to trouble the comfortable, and comfort the troubled.”

Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis (IUPUI), the only college in the United States with a cricket education program, has been totally living the above adage for the last six years. A sixth batch of twelve IUPUI Students, with a major in Physical Education, went out of their comfort zones to grasp the game of cricket and attended a USA Center for Excellence in Cricket education program in the first week of December.

The coaching clinic was headed by Mr. Jatin Patel – Director, American Cricket Federation and Founder, USA Center for Excellence in Cricket. Being a certified International Cricket Coach among his other coaching accolades, Mr. Patel (originally from Gujarat, India) was surely the right man for this camp. Under his mentorship, the University students not only understood the game, but they also excelled in the practical field sessions and were bestowed with the ACF Level 1 Cricket Coaching Certification.

The Cricket Education Program at IUPUI is into its sixth edition in what has been a very successful series so far. With the central goal of training the University Students at the undergraduate level to leverage their expertise in the future when they become potential Physical Education teachers or Sports Management professionals, the latest batch of students involved many more ladies than ever before. This is on similar lines like the USF Women’s Cricket Club Training program which was covered by the International Cricket Network – icn360.

This edition of the training camp was divided into 2 sessions. Introduction to the Cricket – its history and large worldwide following, basics of Physical Fitness and its relevance in Cricket formed the crux of the first session. With weather not permitting outdoor training, IUPUI offered indoor facilities and the students enjoyed learning the correct bowling actions and throwing techniques with Mr. Patel who emphasized on what a ‘correct’ bowling action is versus what they call it ‘chucking’ in cricketing slang. There were lots of questions from the interested students to which Mr. Patel answered with utmost patience and maximum possible detail.

Mr. Jatin Patel, himself very pleased with this bunch of students, said, “These are our future Physical Education teachers and our goal is to give them the knowledge needed to carry with them for the rest of their teaching careers, and to make them capable of training many future scholars and youths in the years to come. It’s all about passing the game knowledge needed to help them learn the game as well as get ready to deliver game knowledge to others in the future through coaching.”

The second session was held the day after the first one and was focused on more advanced training. The IUPUI students were now exposed to the real aspect of the game – which is the play and its intricacies. Students were explained basics like the importance of running between the wickets (22-yard strip) and the different ways in which a batsman can get out. But they were also taught the intricacies like the importance of not bowling a No-Ball, importance of not giving too many extras in a game, etc. Some learners with prior softball and baseball experiences, were quick to relate it with some cricketing terms and practices and hence grasped the game with ease. While they linked the 2 different sports, they also learnt and respected the minute differences – something like how in cricket a batsmen has the freedom to to hit the ball to any part of the field without any restriction and still score runs.

 Jatin Patel shows what a ‘correct’ bowling action looks like in Cricket. Jatin Patel shows what a ‘correct’ bowling action looks like in Cricket.

Post these 2 training sessions came the time that the students enjoyed the most – the ‘play’ time. Students were shown the wooden bats, leather balls and safety equipments. Some of the students had the privilege of trying out the full cricket kit, holding an actual cricket bat and tossing the leather ball to their colleagues to see and feel a real cricket (leather) ball.

Jatin Patel voiced his love for the game when he said, “I am available to help and assist any student who wants to adopt cricket coaching as his or her career.” He also handed over a CD with cricket education material to the IUPUI students.

The IUPUI instructor for this program was Christopher Ray Rash, faculty instructor for physical education in the Department of Kinesiology at Indiana University Physical Education & Tourism Management. He took over from Sandra Barnett who completed the first five batches of this Cricket Education Program in the last six years.

Participants: Tori Ball, Lucy Becker, Bryce Bennington, Zackary Harlan, Erica Hurt, Dymond Johnston, Katherine Lyons, Ethan Ogle, Emily Sauer, Rachel Saylor, Harley Sinders and Mat Wolfe.

Picture Courtesy: Balbir Singh for sportswire4u

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