The Georgetown Cricket Club (GCC) traveled from March 3-11 to the GU-Qatar campus to play three matches against its cricket team. The Washington, D.C. Hoyas won the first match, lost the next two and bonded with the students at the Qatar campus.
Matt Turner (SFS ’23) and Fuaad Ansaruddin (GU-Q ’23) were chatting after a Georgetown Cricket Club practice in the spring of 2022. Ansaruddin, an exchange student from GU-Qatar, wished he could show the American Hoyas his school’s cricket team and Turner, the president of GCC, agreed. After a year of brainstorming and fundraising — and a plane ride halfway across the world — it happened.
Esmond Martin (SFS ’23) and Turner led the charge to raise all the required funds through donors, graduate connections and cold calling.
Turner took a class with Mark Giordano, a professor of geography and the vice dean of undergraduate affairs in the Walsh School of Foreign Service (SFS), who had recently traveled to the Qatar campus. When Giordano mentioned that the SFS was looking for ways to connect the two campuses, Turner flagged the idea to him, and the trip grew from there.
On the trip, the two squads played a format of six balls (similar to baseball’s innings) and 15 overs (similar to at-bats). The GCC roster is composed of students hailing from five countries, including the United Kingdom, Australia, India and Pakistan, with only three of the 13 players coming from the United States. Each game took around three hours.
On March 6, GU fielded first and narrowly won the first match by 7 wickets and 2 balls. Present captain Rahil Shaikh (CAS ’25) was definitely “the man of the match” in the first contest, according to teammate Shahmeer Nawaz (CAS ’24).
The second match took place March 7 and saw GU-Qatar barely defeat the American squad by 5 wickets and 9 balls. Finally, on March 9, the Qatar squad won the best-of-three series in a victory by 5 wickets in the least close of the games.
Nawaz said that they played tape-ball cricket rather than the hard-ball style commonly used in the United States.
“It’s a completely different format altogether,” Nawaz told The Hoya. “It plays out differently on the pitch. For example, a tape ball bounces higher on the pitch. Tape ball is generally used for more casual games, while hard ball is more professional.”
The field was also different from normal playing conditions for the District Hoyas. GU-Qatar had a proper, oval-shaped cricket pitch, compared to the rectangular field Georgetown practices on at the Duke Ellington Field in Burleith.
“The grass on Duke Ellington Field gives pretty unpredictable bounces,” Nawaz told The Hoya. “You won’t know how high the ball will bounce.”
Beyond the opportunity to compete, the players loved meeting more Hoyas from around the world.
“The GU-Qatar community was really welcoming, and we all became really close friends with the students there,” Zara Ali (SFS ’24), the club’s outreach chair, told The Hoya. “I don’t think anyone expected that level of hospitality.”
“Over here [in Washington, D.C.], I never thought very much about the GU-Qatar campus,” Ali said. “But going over there and realizing how much they talk about main campus — a few of them even had Healy [Hall] on their laptop screensavers, which was so cute.”
Organized cricket at Georgetown stretches as far back as 1861. The COVID-19 pandemic temporarily disassembled the semiformal club, but it restarted in 2021 with regional tournaments.
When not in the opposite hemisphere, GCC plays in a regional competition in the fall and a national competition in the spring and scrimmages colleges in the DMV area.
“The real emphasis is on just enjoying cricket, having a good time of it, making friends and creating a good community around the sport,” Turner said. “So it’s definitely open to everyone vaguely interested in the sport.”
The GCC will continue their enjoyment of cricket in the DMV area — while keeping an open eye on Qatar.
“I’m really hoping it will go on to be a regular thing where we go to them either once every couple of years or once every four years,” Turner said. “And then they come to us on a similar time frame because it was so special.”