The Big Bend Cricket League began in 2002, and its goal was to promote the sport of Cricket in North Florida, Central Florida as well as South Georgia. The inaugural 2003-3004 season kicked off with a league of nine teams.
The Tallahassee Cricket Club, the Florida State Cricket Club, the Valdosta Cricket Club, the University of Florida Cricket Club, the Jacksonville Cricket Club, the Florida Institute of Technology Cricket Club from Melbourne, and the Pakistan and Warrior Cricket Clubs from Orlando.
Executive Committee member Harish Gudikandula said that the league was founded by two professors, Shahid Shaheen and Ram Mantravadi, and some of their students. Both the teachers and students loved to play cricket and they worked to ensure the stability of the league over the years.
“When the league began they planned on it being a stepping stone to try and build a league that expanded throughout the state of Florida,” said Gudikandula.
Unfortunately, the Big Ben League lasted until 2006 when many of the teams decided to branch off and go their separate ways. The Tallahassee Cricket Club’s committee decided to branch off and make an agreement with some of the clubs from the Big Bend Cricket league as well as some of the brand new local teams that were just getting started in the north Florida region.
This did not stop the Tallahassee Cricket Club from continuing to play the game that they love. They talked to teams that still wanted to play and created their own schedule to face the competitors.
Founded in September 1998, Tallahassee Cricket Club is one of the premier Cricket Clubs in North Florida. The team is lead by experienced Cricket players and their direction has elevated the team to the Semi Finalist of the Big Bend Cricket League in the 2003- 2004 season as well as the 2005-2006 seasons.
The club’s Webmaster Indika Kotakadeniya said that some of the other teams share the same common goal with them and that is the love and passion of the game. “We are a dedicated bunch of Cricket fanatics whose love for the game never diminished, even though we left our beloved homelands years ago,” said Kotakadeniya.
After the league separation the Tallahassee Cricket Club now plays teams that are closer to home. “We play teams that are fairly close to us such as Panama City, Marianna, Valdosta and Jacksonville,” said fielder and team manager Behzad Shah.
The teams consist of a 30 to 35 players with 20 active players. The team has a diverse group of players coming from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, The West Indians, South Africans, Britain and The Kiwi islands.
The Tallahassee Club’s Treasurer Behzad Shah said, “We have a universal group of people and we are always asking for people to come out and play. We want students to come out even if you go to FSU, TCC and FAMU it doesn’t matter we just want more young people to become interested in the game and pass it on.”
The teams provide all the gear to any person that wants to play and is willing to teach the game to anyone who is inexperienced. The Tallahassee Cricket Club plays three Sunday’s a month at 9 a.m. at Tom Brown Park.