Arul Suppiah

Arul Suppiah batting for Somerset
Photographer: Alain Lockyer

Cricketing alumni breaks world record

Arul Suppiah, who graduated with a BA in Accounting and Finance in 2005, surprised the cricketing world, as well as himself, with a record breaking bowling spell in a T20 match at Cardiff on July 5th.

Suppiah bowled 3.4 overs of left arm offspin and took six Glamorgam wickets for just five runs, beating the previous world best in a twenty over game of six for 14 in an Indian Premier League game in 2008.

Suppiah’s spell was instrumental in leaving Somerset with a target of 99 runs which they reached with five wickets and five-and-a-half overs to spare. The feat is even more remarkable because he had not expected to play such a starring role in the game at all. Speaking to BBC Somerset he said "Coming to Cardiff, history says it's very conducive to spinners. I thought I would bowl but only to fill in a few overs, It's a proud moment, I'll cherish that but records are there to be broken."

Arul was a beneficiary of the University's sports scholarship scheme with financial support from the Exeter office of Marsh UK, the leading insurance services firm. It is one of the country’s leading sports scholarship programmes which now supports over 60 talented sportsmen and women annually.  Under this scheme, local businesses work alongside the University of Exeter to support the next generation of sporting heroes. Each sports scholarship sponsor contributes upwards of £1,500 every year to their chosen student, who is able to use the money to help with sporting expenses such as travel and training costs. The University then offers central services such as top quality sports specific coaching and strength & conditioning; sports science and physiotherapy alongside mentoring and lifestyle support.

Believed to be the first Malaysian cricketer to play first class cricket in England, Arul who made his debut for the Somerset 1st XI in 2002 against West Indies 'A', has also played for England at representative levels and was voted Most Promising Sportsman of the Year for Malaysia in 2000.

Nick Beasant, Assistant Director of Sport (Performance & Competitions) is obviously delighted with Arul’s continued success and commented “Arul was a leading sports scholar and a key member of our men’s cricket 1st XI which reached the BUCS Championship Final in 2003, beating Loughborough in the semi final.  He had already started his first class career with Somerset by then and it was evident that he was a talent with both bat and ball.  Arul remains in contact with the University and it is always a pleasure to see him, and his fellow cricketing alumni, flourishing in the county game.”

Date: 11 July 2011

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