In March this year, Jamia Millia Islamia played the nail-biting final of the Toyota University Cricket Championship (UCC), losing to Jain University, Bangalore, only by two runs. Four months and a place in the top 10 university sports ranking later, the university has seen a surge in the number of applications for admissions under the sports quota, especially for cricket.
According to the officiating Vice-Chancellor S M Sajid, the university received around 250 applications for cricket alone in the current admission season. Director of Physical Education at Jamia Noor Mohammad said the number of applications had more than doubled this academic session. “We saw a huge rush of students during cricket trials, the primary rounds of which have been completed and the results should be out by next week,” he said.
University officials attribute the surge to Jamia playing the UCC finals this year. “Though most of the applications are from North India, we are getting applications from all over the country for admission under cricket quota,” Noor Mohammad said. He said this year’s tournament was broadcast on television, which also contributed to the increasing popularity of Jamia and its sports infrastructure.
The Jamia Sports Complex was constructed during the Commonwealth Games. Since then, improvements have been made to the structure to make it a state-of-the-art sports complex. “We recently added new lights to the cricket ground and also increased seating capacity so that a bigger audience could watch the games, which are shown free-of-cost,” Noor Mohammad said.
After the UCC finals, former Vice-Chancellor Najeeb Jung, who took a keen interest in sports, presented the team, including the coach and the managers, with laptops. “The vice-chancellor allowed all students, who missed exams due to the matches, to take their exams later,” Noor Mohammad said.
Besides playing in the UCC, which is said to have reached more than 200 universities and 20 lakh students across the country, the Jamia cricket team also secured the third place in the All India Inter University Cricket Tournament and were declared North zone runners-up.
Noor Mohammad said besides cricket, Jamia also has a strong basketball, hockey and women’s tennis team.