I had a pint with every country at the Cricket World Cup
Okay, not everyone had a pint
In case you missed it (and I wouldn’t blame you if you have), there’s a Cricket World Cup under way in Australia and New Zealand.
So what better way to celebrate the third best version of the second best sport in the world, than to speak to a student representative of every nation participating?
What did I learn? Well, for starters, cricket isn’t that popular. Second, it’s really bloody difficult to get hold of people from fourteen countries in the space of a fortnight.
I didn’t anticipate an easy time trying to track down students from all four corners of the globe, so I did allow the rules to be tweaked slightly in terms of “being from that country”. Everyone I spoke to did at least had some family connection to the country I say they’re representing here though.
Thank you to everyone who took part, you did your countries proud.
Jonathan Das – Bangladesh
International Relations second year and occasional wicket-keeper Jonathan acknowledged his side don’t have much chance of winning the tournament, but reckons there’ll be “one or two upsets to cheer about”.
Whether he was talking about England beating Bangladesh wasn’t clear.
Jamie Tamm and Bridget O’Donohue – Australia
Despite being from one of the host nations, Aussies Jamie and Bridget told me straight off the bat that they weren’t cricket fans. Our conversation consisted mainly of how they were adjusting to life in England (“People drink a lot here, but we’re used to that”) and Australian snacks – apparently they eat “Fairy Bread” – which is hundreds and thousands on buttered bread.
Rahul Bhogasara – India
The South Asian Society’s Social Sec is into his cricket, but he says: “My dad is obsessed, and when I was younger I thought, ‘Why does he love these eleven guys more than he loves me?’, so I occasionally support Pakistan to annoy him.”
Nick Falkner – New Zealand
Second year historian Nick isn’t a born and bred Kiwi but even though he’ll support England he says: “It’ll be nice if New Zealand win”, which I suppose is fair enough.
Nick adds: “My parents are from there so I’ve been quite a lot. Barely anyone talks about cricket though, rugby is a religion.”
Yasser Al-Hamad – United Arab Emirates
Dubai-born Yasser graduated with a Masters from Leeds Uni. He said: “My response to your questions is I don’t follow cricket.”
We did not get to have a pint.
David Cowlishaw – England
This is probably the only chance I’ll get to represent England at anything even vaguely sport-related, so I’m putting myself in. What do I make of the World Cup? Well, it’s on at a stupid time, England are rubbish and there are way too many matches. Bring on the next test match.
Gobini Mohan – Sri Lanka
Second year Neuroscience student Gobini was born in Sri Lanka but moved to Newcastle when she was five. She says she knows nothing about cricket – “Apart from there’s a guy at the back who catches the ball.”
Ryan Manyika – Zimbabwe
Ryan is a graduate of Teesside University, so he’s the only one of our international posse not to have some connection to Leeds. I bet you know loads of Zimbabweans don’t you?
Anyway, he was “born and bred in Harare” before coming to England aged thirteen on a Sports Scholarship. He’s more into his rugby, having played for Harlequins and The Zimbabwe sevens team.
Jordan Crankshaw – South Africa
Johannesburg-born Leeds Beckett student Jordan goes on the “isn’t really interested in cricket” list. We met at an Otley Run, so I can’t really remember what he said exactly.
Mariam Waseem – Afghanistan
Mariam’s mum was born in Peshawar, Afghanistan but she was born in Kenya and now lives in Oldham. On cricket, she says: “I have actually seen Kenya play live, but I know nothing apart from the fact there’s these things called wickets and if you hit them, you’re out.”
The Environment & Politics fresher also said she’s found student life “overrated” so far “because you have to fend for yourself”.
Shenene Jess – West Indies
The Engineering first year switched her degree from Politics and Economics “because I realised I was politically apathetic.”
Born in London to a Jamaican family, Shenene is another one who admits to knowing nothing about cricket.
Guy Benshetrit – Scotland
OK, so the Australians and Sri Lankans I’ve spoken to aren’t interested in cricket, but who knows, maybe the Scot will surprise us and express his undying love for Ian Bell? Well, not quite. Third year Medic Guy says: “I honestly don’t give a shit about cricket. I didn’t even know the World Cup was on.
“At my school, nobody played cricket apart from one guy because he was English and another guy because he couldn’t play any other sports.”
I think Guy was just pissed off that England beat Scotland the night before we met.
Mo Zubair – Pakistan
Second-year Dentist Mo won my award for the best response. He said: “Cricket isn’t the national sport of Pakistan but it might as well be. A time where people put grudges aside and unite on the common ground of the Pakistani cricket team. On the day of the match there’s always a whiff of apprehension in the air, as Pakistan’s performance can swing either way (quite literally).
“Pakistani cricket supporters realise the volatile nature of the team and so many feel the need to set their opinions in stone, even before the match has started. The thing I find most intriguing is that how a team of 11 players are able to capture the hearts of 182 million people.
“Cricket is positive channel for patriotism to flow through. It would be wrong to say cricket is a sport in Pakistan, it’s more a culture, a tradition. For a country struck by economic downturn and terrorism, a cricket match victory is truly a blessing. You have to be among Pakistanis to truly experience the atmosphere after a win.”
Michael Grant – Ireland
“We have a cricket team?”