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Image courtesy of Dileep Kalanthoor

Office of Social Responsibility Organizes a Special Version of Gully Cricket

In collaboration with Student Interest Groups, TASHAN and Pakistani Student Association, and NYU Abu Dhabi Athletics, the Office of Social Responsibility organized a Gully Cricket event dedicated especially to the contracted staff on campus.

Nov 9, 2019

On Nov. 1, ten cricket teams — comprised of eight contracted staff teams, one student team and one staff team — took over the NYU Abu Dhabi Performance Gym and converted it into a cricket pitch. In collaboration with Student Interest Groups, namely TASHAN and Pakistani Student Association, and NYUAD Athletics, the Office of Social Responsibility (OSR) organized a Gully Cricket event dedicated especially to the contracted staff on campus.
“In terms of what it means for me and the [Office of Social Responsibility], this event is a really great way of showing how much community exists within NYUAD and that’s a core part of all of the events that take place around campus,” said Program Coordinator Firas Ashraf. “It’s also a testament to TASHAN and PSA, who served as prime examples of student groups really focusing on inclusivity across their events. The fact that we collaborated with them meant a great deal just because it shows how much students really care about our contracted colleagues.”
Contracted staff teams represented various vendors who work for the NYUAD community, from ADNH and Public Safety to Serco and Global Wings. The teams all competed against each other in this six hour long knock-out format tournament. The student and staff teams, led by Ayaan Ali Shah, Class of 2021, and Abdul Jabbar Abbasi from Health and Wellness respectively, were lucky enough to qualify directly to the quarterfinals due to a raffle draw.
The high-energy event was fueled with collegiate spirit. A lively audience filled with students, contracted staff and staff members cheered enthusiastically for every boundary and wicket taken by their respective teams. The competitive atmosphere was balanced with an incredible amount of fun, banter and gratitude.
“It was an amazing day of cricket! I am thankful to the entire team of the Office of Social Responsibility for organizing Gully Cricket. Not just me but my entire team really had a lot of fun,” said an excited Dinesh Rai, a Serco staff member. For his performance throughout the event, Rai was also awarded the title of “Best Batsman”.
“You know I’m not of the age [that I can] play actual cricket anymore but this Gully Cricket event was really enjoyable. I had a great time cheering for my friends and playing with them, even though we didn’t win,” shared Ehsan Ul Haq, a member of the Global Wings staff.
Members of the NYUAD community, such as Kyle Farley (Dean of Students), Peter Dicce (Director of Athletics, Intermurals and Recreation), Scott Cannie (Assistant Director of NYUAD Athletics) and even Faiza the Falcon, made appearances at the event. Between the selfies with Faiza and chats with the multiple administrative staff, the contracted staff further added to the excitement of the event with their unique and talented contributions. Dileep Kalanthoor, a Serco staff, was in charge of photography while many others, like Satayjit Bera from ADNH, and Gul Nawaz and Sakhawat Mehboob from the Public Safety Department, enthusiastically did some commentary and also sang alongside the on-going five-over matches.
“I’m usually a shy person and I don’t attend most events on campus but it was amazing to be a part of this event and openly enjoy ourselves with students, the administration and my friends. I was having so much fun that I even sang and did some commentary — that doesn’t really happen often,” exclaimed Mehboob.
This event also had a special purpose: bidding farewell to Jayesh Raja, who serves as Assistant Director at NYUAD Fitness and Wellness and is a beloved member of the NYUAD community. Raja, who has worked at NYUAD for nine years, shares a tight bond with the community members on campus and especially with the OSR and contracted staff. He was accompanied by his family at the event, which he spent weeks planning. In an emotional speech dedicated to Raja, the community thanked him for his immense contributions to NYUAD and his warm presence on campus.
“Cricket at NYUAD has enabled our community members to come together with our students and has been a vehicle for community cohesion and building bridges between different faiths. I truly believe that cricket here will continue to inspire every gender, background and ability whilst building bridges between continents and communities. It was such an honor and a privilege to serve cricket at NYUAD and the Athletics Department in general,” reflected Raja, “The friendly and fun competition between our students and our contracted staff and the bright smiles on their faces is what makes my job so rewarding and priceless!”
This small celebration was followed by an award ceremony, where the winning ADNH team and the runner-up Serco team were handed out trophies and medals by Vice Chancellor Mariet Westermann. The best batsman, bowler and the Man of the Match — Dinesh Rai, Satyajit Bera and Muhammad Haris Ali respectively — were also awarded with trophies.
“It was indeed a memorable day for me and I have thoroughly enjoyed myself. All the guest appearances made our day and we are proud to be a part of [NYUAD],” said Ali, “Through this event, I am now known to a wider community, and it makes me really proud and happy!”
“All the teams were really experienced. So, getting the gold medal from the Vice Chancellor felt even more special. [Winning] was a mind-blowing experience and it felt incredible to hold the winner’s trophy,” exclaimed Nitheesh Shetty, a player of the winning ADNH team, “Our victory is dedicated to Mr. Jay and for everything he has done for us.”
Aasna Sijapati is News Editor. Email her at
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