Though having Blyth as a faculty adviser was a valuable boost for the team, the first year would provide challenges for the club and test Khan’s ability as a leader.
As the team’s head, Khan has dealt with various facets of the club both on and off the field. As a player, he captained the team while winning the respect of players who were older than him and had more experience playing at a high level.
Khan’s role was even more important off the field, as he managed the logistics of the team by organizing practices, competitions, and travel plans to make sure the team was ready to compete at the national level.
Among the biggest logistical challenges for young cricket teams is finding a venue in which to play and obtaining a sponsor. Under Khan’s initiative, the team secured Jordan Field to host matches and Hit Wicket Bar & Restaurant, a cricket-themed restaurant in Inman Square for a sponsor.
In addition, Khan and Blyth have been responsible for communicating with the Harvard Athletics Department as well as American College Cricket, the governing body for collegiate-level cricket, while simultaneously promoting the team.
“He’s been very active in getting publicity for the club,” Blyth said. “We’ve been able to get a story in the Gazette, the Harvard Magazine, the [Boston] Globe. We held a reception with the British Consul General at the Faculty Club…. [It was] something that’s bringing a little bit of momentum to his efforts of articulating what he’s trying to do.”
Arguably the biggest challenge, and by far the most frustrating for Khan, however, was getting club members to commit to matches.
“When we were starting, the most frustrating occasions would be when people like the sport, but at the end of the day, it’s not their number one priority,” Khan said. “We’d have times where we would have the game set up but we had difficulty putting out 11 players.”
This struggle to form a cohesive unit continued throughout the season. Yet Khan maintained positivity due to his love for the game, and the team became closer as the year progressed.
The point which really brought the team together in Khan’s mind and defined its dedication was its trip to nationals in Fort Lauderdale, Fl. last March.
At one point, the team only had five players who were committed to traveling south to represent Harvard. But Khan was able to pull together a full squad of 11 to make the trek.
“The team rented a car and drove down overnight for 26 hours to get to Florida,” Khan said. “That is commitment…. After that, the guys who went to nationals stuck with team and are still on the team, [and that] was really a turning point.”
AN OLD RIVAL LIGHTS A SPARK
In October 2012, the cricket club earned a feature headline in the Boston Globe after defeating Yale, 249-74.