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Diversity Cup: Promoting Cricket in the USA

By Almas Akhtar, TMO

The-Independent-cricket-proThe ‘Diversity Cup’ is an annual cricket tournament  held in the state of Michigan, it is the Midwest’s biggest and most acclaimed cricket tournament.

It was 2006 when the first the Diversity Cup was played in Rochester Hills, MI. Mr. Shahid Ahmed, a Pakistani American, is the person who has worked tirelessly to put together this tournament. “I have been playing and watching the sports of cricket since childhood,” he says.

Mr. Ahmed was a member of Adamjee College and NED University Cricket Teams in Karachi and also represented the Pakistan Public Works Department in the Patron’s Trophy in Pakistan.He came to the United States in 1990.

“We used to go to Canada to play cricket in the Southern Ontario League.” It was also due to his efforts that the Michigan Cricket Association was formed in 2001.

The vision of the Diversity Cup is to promote the sport of cricket in the USA and bring together people from different nationalities and backgrounds under the umbrella of cricket.

Six teams participated in the first Diversity Cup in 2012. The total number of participants in the 2012 Diversity Cup was 8 namely India Blues, Pakistan Greens, Canada Maple Leaves, USA Stars, Sri Lanka Lions, World 11 Dare Devils, Bangladesh Tigers and West Indies Masters.

India Blues won the Diversity Cup 2012. As the name Diversity implies, this event has been a diverse collection of individuals and teams each bringing their multi-cultural accents to the bigger banner of the Diversity Cup.

Cricket is the second most popular sport in the world, but it was not considered a popular sport in the United States till the late 1990s when the first professional league American Pro Cricket was formed through the efforts of several different organizations and individuals.There are 5 cricket pitches in USA.

It is mostly popular in parts of the states with high immigrant populations.

These immigrants brought the love of the game to the US with them; many  cricket clubs and leagues have been formed.

Cricket still remains a minority sport in USA failing to gain a substantial following, yet through the popularity of  web broadcasts of T 20 and World Cup Cricket matches it has gained  popularity in the last 10 years.

The state of Michigan is one of the states where cricket is very popular due to its large immigrant population. Since its inception the Diversity Cup has attracted many famous international cricketers.Mr Asif Iqbal, Mr Javed Miandad, and Mr Mushtaq Mohammed, famous cricketers from Pakistan have graced the Diversity Cup with their presence. Mr. Azharuddin from India, Mr. Rangana Herath from Sri Lanka, Mr. Adam Sanford from the West Indies and Mr. Shoaib Mohammed from Pakistan have played for their respective teams in the Diversity Cup.

Mr Shahid Ahmed acknowledged two of his old  friends Dr. Sohail Ahmed and Mr. Shaan Haq for helping him organize the Diversity Cup every year.

Dr Ahmed is a Professor at Eastern Michigan University who provides technical support and helps with web casting of the Diversity Cup. For Mr Haq, who is an engineer at Chyrysler, photography is his passion; he has been the photographer of the event for last six years. “I could not have done all this without the support of my wife, Durdana,” said Mr. Shahid Ahmed.

Every year Global Sports organizes this event along with the support of a very long list of volunteers. There have been many small businesses and individuals who have been regular sponsors of this tournament.

Mr. Shahid Ahmed expressed his interest in contacting European and Australian Cricket players and officials so in the future there will be teams representing England or New Zealand in the Diversity Cup.

His dream is to make cricket a popular sport in the USA like Baseball or Basketball, in his life time. He talks with great passion about teaching crickets to the youth of today so one day the United States Cricket Team can get membership in the International Cricket Council.


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