It’s a breadth of fresh air when you get on a ground where kids are playing cricket at a semi amateur level with a white leather ball and that too young kids none older than 14 years. That is the scene that you get at Junior Pitch U-14 cricket tournament organised by Sehwag Cricket Academy.
I was there at the Khalsa Senior Secondary School in Delhi to see how these young guns do and I kid you not, these pint sized kids pack a wallop.
Sehwag Cricket academy has been working at the grass root level to give kids an opportunity to shine and show off their skills and one of the ways of doing so is through their flagship tournament Junior Pitch. This year this tournament is is bigger and better with 28 teams participation in it.
One of the matches was PCK Sports Nursery Faridabad Vs District Cricket Club and we were pleasantly surprised to see these kids play.
The match started with PCK Sports Nursery Faridabad bowling first. The air was rife with excitement and enthusiasm. One of the first few bowlers was a left arm kid who also happens to be the youngest cricketer around. Divansh Kohli is just 7 years old but he has the abilities that are way beyond his age. His last over was sublime with impeccable line and length picking up two crucial wickets and just giving 6 runs. He eventually finished his quota with the figures of 4 overs for 28 runs with 2 wickets. He was last year around the ‘Best Young Cricketer’ at Junior pitch 2014 and I wouldn’t be surprised if he wins the same title this year around as well.
A conversation with him and you get to know why we all love this sport. “I just love to play cricket!” he says with a glint in his eyes as he “talks” cricket with his fellow team mates and even his opponents always letting them know of how he thinks the batsman should have hit the last delivery. He has been playing since he was 3 years old, I did try to kid with this kid and asked him if he was playing since he was three or since 3 years and he huffed and puffed to say that “No he has been playing since he was 3 years old”, little does this master know that it doesn’t make any difference as his abilities can put a much older player to shame. His coach told us that the he is even better with the bat and that the last time he played cricket for his school DPS Faridabad in a tournament he was the highest run getter with 192 runs in 5 matches. Ask him what does he like more and he quickly replies “Bowling, I love to get wickets.” And ask him who is his favourite cricketer “Is it Kohli?” “No, I don’t like Kohli that much, my favourite is Shikhar Dhawan because he is a left handed batsman like me”
The first innings had finished with a score of 141 thanks to the openers Ankit and Shub scoring 61 and 35 respectively. Shub has under 16 state written across his back as his stroke play is tremendous and his reading of the game even better.
The chase by PCK Sports was equally interesting with some heavy hitting at the end with 17 runs required in the last over to win but sadly PCK lost to District Cricket Club by 4 runs, you would think that tears were shed because of this (as they are kids) but I am happy to tell you that there were only giggles at the end as PCK congratulated District Cricket Club for winning and a match well played.
This camaraderie amongst opponents is what we forget as we try to win but the kids that day showed this very humble observer that ‘yes one team wins the match but every match is also a victory of the sport and one thing that the kids do best is show us what sportsmanship really is.