USC is said to have the largest group of Indian students in the United States. Many of them are expected gather in Tommy’s Place to cheer on their country’s team in the Cricket World Cup, which will be shown this month on three LCD televisions and one giant projector screen.
“If you can combine the American passion for football, basketball and baseball and put it in one, that’s what the Indians have for cricket,” said Arvin Varma, associate director of Recreational Sports. “So it’s a great outlet for them.”
The Cricket World Cup takes place every four years, and in 2011, it coincides with USC president C. L. Max Nikias’ trip to India to build new ties.
“Since the president is going to be in India during the World Cup, one of my suggestions was that if he really wants to make a point and show how much USC takes care of its international students, especially the Indian community, we should try and screen this,” Varma said.
The games will be broadcast for USC students free of charge. India will play Bangladesh on Feb. 19 at 12:30 a.m., England on Feb. 27 at 1 a.m., South Africa on March 12 at 1 a.m. and the West Indies on March 20 at 2 a.m.
Despite the time change — which means that the broadcasts will begin in the middle of the night and last until approximately 8 a.m. — Varma expects between 100 and 150 students to attend each event. If India advances to the quarterfinals, semifinals or grand finale, those games also will be shown.
Many of the university’s cricket fans also play the sport at USC, which has a 150-member club team coached by Varma.
Fourteen of the team’s players recently won the American College Cricket’s western regional tournament, and they’ll be competing in the national tournament in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., from March 15-21.
The rest of the players take part in tournaments on USC’s Cromwell Field on Fridays from 8:30 to 11:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 7 to 10 p.m.
“It’s a wonderful thing, especially for students coming from India,” Varma said. “Cricket is the thing in India. We all grew up playing cricket.”