Humber cricket sweeps awards season with historic Team of the Year win

May 30, 2024 | Headlines, Sports

Students and coaches from Humber’s Cricket team made history when they won the Team of the Year 2023-2024 honour for the first time.

The awards ceremony, held last month, saw the team take home several awards. The accolades included the Coaching Excellence Award to coach Uzair Modan, Hawk Hustle to Jinil Patel, the Sportsmanship Award to Shreshth Nirmohi, Extramural Athlete of the Year to Manav Gurnani and the Milan Boronell Excellence Award to Manav Damani.

The team also won several other awards in areas like coaches’ pick, most valuable player and for the most dedicated player.

Coach Uzair Modan dedicates this recognition to “the great players and all my fellow coaches.”

Cricket coach Uzair Modan with his Coaching Excellence Award.

Cricket coach Uzair Modan received the Coaching Excellence Award. Photo credit: Diego Guillen

For Shreshth Nirmohi, who hails from the northern Indian union territory of Chandigarh, cricket was a dream he thought he had given up on. He wanted to represent India but couldn’t achieve that goal. He retired from the domestic championship, the Ranji Trophy, last year.

Cricketer Shreshth Nirmohi holding his Sportsmanship award.

Cricketer Shreshth Nirmohi received the Sportsmanship award. Photo credit: Diego Guillen

“I thought I was done with cricket but Humber never let that happen and got me introduced to [a] new format of cricket (indoor cricket) and kept my passion for the game alive,” Nirmohi said.

Jinil Patel’s interest in cricket dates to when he was five years old. He says he was always surrounded by cricket.

“I started playing cricket at the age of five with my grandfather,” Patel said. “My aunt is a professional women’s cricket player and I have been fortunate enough to travel with her for her tournaments and witness the struggles a cricket player goes through.

“This gave me extreme motivation to bring my game at a higher level and perform to the best of my ability,” he said.

Cricketer Jinil Patel holding his Hawk Hustle award.

Cricketer Jinil Patel received the Hawk Hustle award. Photo credit: Diego Guillen

Originally from the western Indian city of Vadodara, Patel’s family moved to Africa when he was seven. While there he traveled to Namibia from Botswana for his first cricket tournament.

“I am extremely grateful to Humber College for giving me such a wonderful opportunity to play cricket in a nation where this sport is still at a developmental stage,” he said.

Manav Damani shares a similar tale of being introduced to cricket at an impressionable age.

Cricketer Manav Damani holding his Milan Boronell Award of Excellence.

Cricketer Manav Damani received the Milan Boronell Award of Excellence. Photo credit: Diego Guillen

“I was immediately drawn to the fast-paced and strategic nature of the game and spent every spare moment honing my skills,” Damani said.

He says the Milan Boronell Award “represents a milestone in my journey and serves as a reminder that my dreams are within reach.”

The talent, experience and commitment they have to the sport is unwavering. With decades of experience, they want to contribute to the growth of the sport in Canada.

Aman Gurnani, who came to Canada last year from India’s capital city New Delhi, says playing cricket for Humber has been “transformative.”

Cricketer Aman Gurnani with his Extramural Athlete of the Year award.

Cricketer Aman Gurnani received the Extramural Athlete of the Year award. Photo credit: Diego Guillen

“I’ve had the privilege of representing Delhi and North Zone at various esteemed levels, including the prestigious U-16, U-19, and U-23 categories,” Gurnani said. “My tenure at Humber College has been transformative. Enrolling at Humber revitalized my cricketing ambitions with newfound vigour.”

The men unanimously voiced aspirations to play for a varsity team and hope for the day when cricket becomes a varsity sport in Canada.

“I would love to compete for the varsity team and would love to promote this game in every way possible,” Patel said.

Gurnani says that he too aims for varsity.

“I am contemplating competing at the varsity level, envisaging it as a conduit to further refinement of my skill set while contributing meaningfully to collective triumphs,” he said.

Modan is hopeful as he sees the sport drawing more attention.

“Every year, the game of cricket is growing at the college level. This year, many colleges are participating in the outdoor cricket season, which is a positive sign for cricket to become a varsity sport in the near future,” Modan said.