Rising NYU-Poly Cricket Star Plays on U.S. Team

Many students plan to vacation overseas this summer. Senior Adrian Gordon is no exception: this week he boards a plane bound for Bermuda. The trip will be for business, not pleasure, though the two are one and the same for Gordon, who travels to the Caribbean as a member of the team representing the U.S. in the International Cricket Council (ICC) Americas Regional Division 1 Championships.

The team warmed up last weekend in Florida in the Pearls Cup, the first cricket competition on U.S. soil to include ICC teams with full member status. Televised live by ESPN3 to over 100 million viewers in an estimated 88 countries, the competition pitted the U.S. against Jamaica twice. Although the U.S. lost both games, Gordon was called out for his performance and is viewed as a positive addition to a team seeking to infuse its ranks with younger talent.

Impressive achievements for a student at a school that didn't have a cricket team until two years ago, but NYU-Poly’s academic reputation was more appealing to Gordon when he was selecting a school. “When you challenge your mind, it makes you smarter because you’re trying to exceed yourself,” he says.

Still, cricket held a strong pull for Gordon, who began playing the sport as a toddler in Antigua. He played it on and off during his college years but didn’t begin seriously pursuing it until he attracted the attention of Lloyd Jodah, president of American College Cricket LLC, who noted Gordon’s abilities during a college all-stars game in 2009. With Jodah’s support, Gordon led the charge to make NYU-Poly’s cricket team a contender for the 2010 American College Cricket Spring Break Championship. Around 40 students showed up to compete for 16 spots on the team that would go on to compete in the championship.

Gordon attributes the interest to the diversity of NYU-Poly’s community. Largely unfamiliar to most Americans, cricket is well-known elsewhere — “It’s really the second most popular sport in the world after soccer,” Gordon claims — with fans found in Sri Lanka, India, Australia, Pakistan, the Caribbean, and the UK (where the sport originated), among other nations. No wonder NYU-Poly students, who represent a broad range of countries, responded eagerly to the posters Gordon splashed across campus as he sought to form a team.

But will cricket at NYU-Poly survive after Gordon graduates in the fall? “Well, I hope,” says Gordon. He’s written a mission statement and “is trying to set a strong template.” He includes in that statement his physical regimen: Gordon works out and practices almost 30 hours every week and plays for two different teams on the weekends — Montego Bay in New Jersey and Richmond Hill in New York.

“I’m practicing every day and trying to stay fit so I can be one of the best players not only in the U.S., but also in the world,” Gordon says. He hopes to land a contract with a professional team and play all over the world but realizes the importance of a good degree (biomedical science, in his case) should an injury dash his chances at cricket.

For now, Gordon intends to perform well in Bermuda. If successful, he’ll remain on the team and travel with it to a competition in Italy later this summer.