ST. JOHN’S, NL –
College of the North Atlantic (CNA) is helping students to play a sport that many may not yet associate with Newfoundland and Labrador (NL) – cricket!
CNA is sponsoring the Royal Challengers Newfoundland Cricket Club this year, making it the second cricket team the college has supported in as many years.
Amit Negandhi, the Royal Challengers’ team manager, says this support has been crucial for the local club.
“Words will fall short to describe the significance of CNA's contribution to our team this year,” he exclaimed. “Because of the college’s contribution, our members will have a significantly reduced financial burden of participating in this league.”
Because of the sponsorship, he says cricket will now be more accessible to others.
“Cricket is an expensive sport with league fees, team jerseys and equipment costing thousands of dollars,” explained Negandhi. “A majority of our players are students or new graduates just settling in the job market and the expense can be prohibitively high for many.”
CNA became a sponsor after a student and avid cricket player, Aftab Mohammed, pitched the idea. The funds are used towards the team's league fees, jerseys and the purchasing of essential equipment.
Founded in 2017 by Manvir Mann, Negandhi says the local cricket club prides itself on having NL hospitality.
“Our club is renowned for its welcoming and friendly environment in the cricket community, and our team comprises a multicultural group of players from several countries and backgrounds,” he said.
Negandhi is confident that team is set to be strong contenders this season.
“In just our second year of founding, we won the coveted Herringshaw-Liverman trophy in Tier-2 of the summer league in 2019. In 2021, we finished at the top of the round-robin table out of seven teams and won the Fair Play award. This year, we have invested in advanced training tools, such as a bowling machine setup and smart batting sensor to give us a competitive edge this season.”
Originally from India, Negandhi says he, like most of the cricket players on his team, grew up playing the game.
“I used to play cricket for 12-16 hours a day as a child; right from the time I woke up to bedtime,” he said.
He says interest in cricket is growing in the province.
“Cricket is the world’s second most popular sport next to soccer, with a huge fan base globally,” said the team manager. “It is a growing sport in Canada and exploding in popularity in Newfoundland with an increasing number of residents following it with every passing year.”
He says the proof is in the numbers. The league has grown from a few dozen players to now more than 300 members.
“Players are predominantly immigrant students and working professionals from cricket-playing nations,” said Negandhi. “With an increasing number of foreign students and workers expected to settle here in the coming years, cricket in Newfoundland is expected to flourish in the coming years. This year, the summer league is expected to have seven clubs playing close to 60 matches.”
Negandhi says having a local cricket team is a benefit for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, as well as newcomers alike.
“It is important to have a cricket team in NL to keep the sport growing for future Canadians and immigrants. Cricket is a sport that I grew up watching, playing and following as a child and no other sport can ever replace that bond. To have a cricket team right here in NL, and a competitive league that is played seriously is a wonderful thing. It is something that I look forward to every year and part of the reason I want to continue living in NL.”
For more information about CNA, visit www.cna.nl.ca
College of the North Atlantic