New Chapter in California

New IFCR Chapter established in California.

A new chapter of IFCR in USA was inaugurated on April 27 by the Rotary Club of Cupertino in California.

It started with president Beverley Lenihan introducing Mahesh Nihalani to tell the members about cricket. Mahesh stated that cricket was a popular sport all over the world.

Behind Mahesh was a banner of the International Fellowship of Cricketing Rotarians featuring participating Rotarian countries – Fiji, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Nepal, South Africa, Australia, Great Britain, New Zealand and India.

Mahesh introduced Hemant Buch, founder of the California Cricket Academy. Hemant talked about the importance of getting cricket into the United States. He mentioned the International Cricket Council, the governing body overseeing cricket throughout the world. He reported that China is beginning to play cricket.

Hemant discussed a proposed model for the United States with matches being three to three and a half hours duration. There would be eight college teams in the east and eight college teams in the west.

US New Chapter Photo 1Hemant addresses the meeting

Why is this important? Because cricket is attracting crowds world wide. Cricket is also doing well financially with a 50% increase in revenues between 2007 and 2011 for the World Cup. Pepsi has also become a major sponsor.

Simply put, cricket is a popular worldwide sport that continues to grow in revenues and participants. For the United States to truly participate at a high level requires schools to offer cricket as a sport.

One only needs to look at the countries involved in the International Fellowship of Cricketing Rotarians to realise that these countries have immigrants in the United States and many in Cupertino.

President Bev Lenihan officially launched the Cupertino chapter of the International Fellowship of Cricket ing Rotarians by cutting the specially made Cricket Cake.

The program then moved outside for a demonstration on the lawn of Memorial Park. Two coaches from India demonstrated the required equipment, explained the rules and how to play the game. A number of Rotarians took a turn to bat.
What was the Rotarians’ reaction?

‘An interest in cricket is natural,’ said president Beverly ‘“given the ethnic makeup of our club and our community. We are proud to be one of the first US chapters of the IFCR joining with like-minded Rotarians in the US and around the world.”’

‘ I learned a lot about cricket at the demonstration at Cupertino Rotary. Developing this Rotary Fellowship is a great idea and will draw interest from Rotarians and non-Rotarians with roots in countries who love cricket and it will encourage interest by all Rotarians to whom cricket is new but love sports. “ Joe Hamilton, District 5170 Governor-nominee.

US New Chapter Photo 2Showing How it’s Done

‘I have played baseball and softball my entire life, but yesterday was the first time I was able to bat, hit a cricket ball and score a couple of runs. I now consider myself a “beginning cricketer’ What fun!’, says Rotary past District Governor, Mr. Jim Walker.

‘Cricket and Rotary! What a great combination! One more avenue to foster fellowship and community. Bringing cricket to Rotary will attract many people from the Caribbean, Indian, Pakistani, and Sri Lankan communities so that they may become Rotarians and members of the fellowship. Could we ask for more?

Says Jagi Shahani, the incoming chairman of the Community Service Commitee
‘ I loved trying to bat. It’s harder than one might think. It would be great if we could have a Cupertino Rotary Cricket Club. I would play’, says Jerra Rowland, a Rotary member.

Mahesh Nihalani, an incoming Board member of Rotary Club of Cupertino, valued the guidance and support from Rtn. Dr.Upendra Bhatt in setting up the Cupertino chapter of the IFCR USA. He says ‘Introducing the Cricket Fellowship in our own club and subsequently District 5170 will encourage a lot of cricket loving non- Rotarians to join Rotary – thus increasing membership’.

Cricket for Rotary America is no longer a Dream!!