The Georgetown Cricket Club (GCC) traveled from March 3 to 11 to the GU-Qatar campus to play three matches against its cricket team. The Washington, D.C. Hoyas won the first game, lost the next two, and drew closer to the students on the Qatar campus.
Matt Turner (SFS ’23) and Fuaad Ansaruddin (GU-Q ’23) talk after practice at the Georgetown Cricket Club in the spring of 2022. Ansaruddin, an exchange student from GU-Qatar, wished he could show the American Hoyas his school cricket team and Turner, the GCC president, agreed. After a year of brainstorming and fundraising—and a plane ride halfway around the world—it happened.
Esmond Martin (SFS ’23) and Turner took on the responsibility of raising all the necessary funds through donors, alumni connections, and cold calling.
Turner took a class with Mark Giordano, professor of geography and associate dean for undergraduate affairs at the Walsh School of Foreign Service (SFS), who had recently traveled to the Qatar campus. When Giordano mentioned that SFS was looking for ways to connect the two campuses, Turner pitched him the idea, and the journey developed from there.
During the trip, the two teams played in a format of six balls (similar to an innings in baseball) and 15 overs (similar to bats). The GCC roster consists of students hailing from five countries, including the United Kingdom, Australia, India and Pakistan, with only three of the 13 players hailing from the United States. Each game took about three hours.
On March 6, GU came out first and narrowly won the first match by 7 wickets and 2 balls. Current captain Rahil Shaikh (CAS ’25) was definitely the “man of the match” in the first competition, according to his teammate Shahmeer Nawaz (CAS ’24).
The second match took place on March 7 and saw GU-Qatar narrowly beat the American team by 5 wickets and 9 balls. Finally, on March 9, Team Qatar won the best-of-three series with a 5-wicket victory in the least close matches.
Nawaz said they played ribbon-ball cricket, not the hard-ball style usually used in the United States.
“It’s a completely different format,” Nawaz told The Hoya. “It is played differently on the field. For example, a ribbon ball bounces higher on the court. The ribbon ball is usually used for more casual games, while the hard ball is more professional.”
The field was also different from the District Hoyas’ normal playing conditions. GU-Qatar had a proper oval-shaped cricket pitch compared to the rectangular pitch Georgetown practices on at Duke Ellington Field in Burleith.
“The grass at Duke Ellington Field gives a pretty unpredictable bounce,” Nawaz told The Hoya. “You won’t know how high the ball is going to bounce.”
Besides the opportunity to compete, the players enjoyed meeting more Hoyas from around the world.
“The GU-Qatar community has been really welcoming and we’ve all become really close friends with the students there,” Zara Ali (SFS ’24), president of the outreach club, told The Hoya. “I don’t think anyone expected this level of hospitality.”
“Right here [in Washington, D.C.], I never thought much of the GU-Qatar campus,” Ali said. “But going there and realizing how much they talk about the main campus — some of them even had a Healy [Hall] on their laptop screensavers which was so sweet.’
Organized cricket in Georgetown dates back to 1861. The COVID-19 pandemic temporarily disrupted the semi-official club, but it is relaunching in 2021 with regional tournaments.
When not in the opposite hemisphere, GCC competes in regional competition in the fall and national competition in the spring and competes against colleges in the DMV area.
“The real emphasis is on just enjoying cricket, having a good time, making friends and creating a good community around the sport,” Turner said. “So it’s definitely open to anyone with a passing interest in sports.”
The GCC will continue to enjoy cricket in the DMV area – while keeping an eye on Qatar.
“I really hope it continues to be a regular thing where we go to them either once every two years or once every four years,” Turner said. “And then they come to us in a similar time frame because it was so special.”