Hassan Javaid has witnessed first hand the rise of cricket at Centennial College.
When Canadian College Cricket (CCC) was founded in 2010, Javaid was a student and played for the school. After graduating in 2012 he first became an assistant and, in the 2014-15 school year, head coach.
Since he took over those duties the Colts have emerged as one of the CCC’s more dominant teams.
“In 2014-15 things started to change a bit, we won three of the six tournaments and the (Challenge Cup) Final Championship,” Javaid said, after a Thursday evening tryout. “The year after that we won six of the seven tournaments (and) we had a 33-2 record.”
— Centennial College (@CentennialEDU) April 1, 2015
The Colts coach was recognized by CCC for his continued efforts to grow the game, as he took home the Second Runner Up President of the Year award.
But Javaid’s ambitions go beyond the success of his team, as he drives to make the sport an official one at the varsity level.
“We are trying to take (cricket) up a level, we’re trying to get OCR (Ontario College Recreations) involved, they are the ones that decided that cricket is not a varsity but an extramural sport,” he said. “So now we’re trying to make it a varsity sport, and there are external bodies that are doing work towards it.
“But we need colleges to start signing up and we need the OCR to get the idea that ‘hey all these colleges are interested.”
Vivek Jacob, a grad student at Centennial and a former member of the Mississauga Rambler Cricket Club, believes the sport still has some major obstacles in Canada.
“The people who play (college cricket) play it competitively, it’s just not recognized at the highest level,” Jacob said. “It has to do more with funding at the national level, cricket doesn’t get that much funding.
“I think if it gets up to the national level and kids can see (the sport) as a viable career – that would be a game changer.”
Centennial looks like they will again be competitive this school year, as many players are returning from the 2016-17 team.
“It’s a good group,” Jacob explained. “Everyone is talented.”
One of those talented, returning stars will be Team Captain Yug Rao, who won the Best Batsman Award at the 3rd Canadian College Cricket Nationals in August.
“(Yug) has been a great mentor to the players,” Javaid said. “He represented Canada at the Under-19 level so he brings a lot to the team.”