In the past year Adil Bhatti has been interviewed for a front page stories of the Washington Post and also by the New York Times, Voice of America News, Sun Sentinel and his college and local media.
Bhatti and his team received a Proclamation from the Montgomery County Council and accolades from his school Montgomery College. Their, and American College Cricket’s story have appeared in countless Indian media, on Pakistan and Afghanistan TV as well as various American and International cricket media.
Bhatti was also selected as the captain of the College Cricket All America 1st Team and declared 2009 College Cricketer of the Year. It’s easy to see why Adil Bhatti could be considered the first American cricket star of the modern era.
A talented all-rounder, Adil Bhatti broke onto the scene a little over a year ago when he led Montgomery College to the Chanderpaul Trophy at the inaugural American College Cricket Championship in March 2009. In the Finals he came at number four when his team looked shaky, and together with Finals MVP Mohammed Kamran put on 108 runs to steer MC to a defendable total of 175 for 3 off 20 overs. His fast bowling, and astute captaincy then ensured MC defeated USF for the National Championship.
Before the Championship the MC players had never played as a team before, and whilst many were friends with each other, the team was a collection of guys from the far flung campuses of Montgomery College in MD. Nevertheless Bhatti motivated and managed the team with a professionalism that was impressive.
The astounding fact is that until 2006 Bhatti had only played tape-ball cricket! He began playing “hardball” in 2006 in the Washington Cricket League, which has over 1,000 members and is perhaps the most competitive League in the US, including USA players like Imran Awan. 2006 and 2007 saw him playing as an allrounder and excelling as a bowler. 2008 he bowled less whilst his batting improved to blossom fully in 2009, first in the College championship, then in the WCL where he was one of only 2 batsmen to score 2 or more centuries.
2009 also saw Bhatti lead MC on 3 trips to New York.The first game was against a New York Under 23 team when Bhatti made 60 and the second at the 17th Annual Sundar Memorial Event. Bhatti, leading an under strength Montgomery excelled with the bat and ball, and captained well. However MC lost the first game in the last over and also lost the 2nd. “That trip was still a lot of fun though, as we got to meet Bollywood Stars like Tanushra Dutta” Bhatti said.
On the 3rd New York trip a full strength MC team performed like Terminators against a College All Stars Team which included a number of USA Under 19 stars. MC hit the stumps with every throw, in an amazing display of fielding and field placement. Bhatti bowled a devastating openg spell, getting the 2 key wickets of Akeem Ddoson and Andy Mohammed, and then blasted 32* out of 41 to put the game away for Montgomery.
It was Suchit Laheri’s idea to participate in the first College Championship. Laheri was an Under 19 player for his Region. The team voted for Captain and Bhatti was elected. Bhatti said “Winning the Chanderpaul Trophy was unbelievable. Getting water poured on me….well, I had seen that kind of excitement in College football but I never thought I would lead a team to any kind of Championship. I was so proud of my teammates, Kamran’s innings in the finals was match winning and in Ankit Sehgal we have one of the best batsmen in the US.”
When asked how he knew to captain so well his first time at it he acknowledged, “I learned a lot from the captain of my WCL team, Anurag Sharma of the Bengals.”
A tremendous fielder Bhatti is fast and extremely athletic. “I played basketball a lot in high school- in fact I thought I was going to be a basketball player, not a cricketer….and I workout in the gym 4 times a week.”
In the 2010 American College Cricket Championship Montgomery had their moments but didn’t make it to the final four. Against the University of the West Indies fiery pace attack, on a fast bouncy pitch Bhatti blasted 60* including 21 in one over. A hook off the helmet was as fine as you’ll see. Bhatti’s batting temperament is mature, holding his end when appropriate, or decimating the bowlers when the time is right.
Currently studying Business Administration whilst also working, Bhatti lives with his Mom and Dad, 4 sisters and younger brother who plays basketball for Montgomery. He does not drink or smoke.
In his spare time he works out, plays pool or goes to the movies, like his favorite Ghajini. Bhatti’s car is a G45 Infinti Coup which he rocks with R & B and Hip Hop like Akon, Chris Brown and Jay Z.
Last Friday, with some of his team mates Bhatti taught elementary school kids about cricket, exemplifying the best of American College Cricket players. Any sport needs stars for kids to look up to, and wish to emulate.
Adil is the epitome of the new generation of American cricketers, young, talented and very fit.