USF World News

USF Women’s Cricket Club: Thriving On Diversity

TAMPA, Fla (November 21, 2018) -  The USF Women’s Cricket Club is thriving on diversity. Since being formed last semester, the club has quickly grown to a group of 10 women from 8 different countries. Two international students, Delisa Harry and Ankita Ajith Deshpande, formed the club in an effort to bring a globally popular sport to the women of USF. Delisa, a graduate student from Guyana, is currently studying accounting and will be graduating in 2019.

“I’m from Guyana and cricket is very popular there. We moved over here when I was really young and my brother started playing when he was 11. My whole family would go to his cricket games and help score. This summer, I started playing cricket with my dad in the yard for fun and exercise. That’s when I realized I liked it,” said Delisa.

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The USF Women’s Cricket Club poses with Mr. Jatin Patel, a professional coach who came for a day to coach and develop the team. (Courtesy of @USFWomenscricket Instagram)

With a new found love for cricket, Delisa sought out a team to join so she could play competitively. It wasn’t long before an opportunity presented itself to form a club at USF.

Ankita Ajith Deshpande, a graduate student from India, is currently studying electrical engineering and will be graduating in December of this year. She’s the captain of the club and has been playing for 6 years.

“I found out that there was a form online for any woman that wanted to play cricket at USF and I jumped at the chance,” said Ankita.

Mostly popular abroad, it comes as no surprise that cricket quickly gained interest among international students who wanted to play. The countries represented include Ecuador, Egypt, Guyana, India, Mauritius, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, and the United States.

“It’s a beautiful thing to know different people from other countries. We get to learn something from them and they learn something from us,” said Ankita regarding the team’s diversity.

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The players of the USF Women’s Cricket Club show of their diversity and origin countries (Courtesy of @USFWomenscricket Instagram)

With such a small team, Delisa and Ankita are actively looking to recruit new members.

“Our whole goal is to promote it around campus. Most of the women on the team hadn’t played cricket but we are training them. A lot of them had seen it played because most of them are international students and that sparked their interest,” explained Delisa.

The team recently had a professional coach from the American Federation for Coaches come to train them for a day. They plan on starting to compete in matches this coming Spring.

For more information about the USF Women’s Cricket Club, visit their Facebook page here:

*** The University of South Florida, established in 1956 and located in Tampa, is a high-impact, global research university dedicated to student success. The USF System includes three, separately accredited institutions: USF; USF St. Petersburg; and USF Sarasota-Manatee. Serving more than 49,000 students, the USF System has an annual budget of $1.6 billion and an annual economic impact of $4.4 billion. USF is ranked in the Top 30 nationally for research expenditures among public universities, according to the National Science Foundation. In 2016, the Florida Legislature designated USF as "Emerging Preeminent," placing USF in an elite category among the state's 12 public universities. USF is a member of the American Athletic Conference.