Kakul Hai fields for young cricketers at the stadium here

Young cricketers had a ball at the recently concluded fifth edition of the Times of India School Cricket League.

Hosted by the K. D. Singh Babu Stadium, City Montessori School (CMS), Kanpur Road lifted the winner’s trophy this year with Unity College coming in a close second.

“My goal is to keep making runs that will be noticed by national selectors of the Indian cricket team.” says Shahab Yuvraj Singh 16, captain and winner of the best batsman award.

This budding batsmen is a student of CMS, Kanpur Road and it is his dream to play for India one day.

His role model is Virat Kohli because no matter what the condition, his main focus is to go out there and make runs.

“I try to do the same. Whenever I step onto the field, I block off everything from my mind and focus only on scoring runs”.

Along with immense personal growth, young cricketers see other advantages in playing competitive tournaments.

Adds 15-year-old Abhishek Yadav, top bowler from the same school, “When you give a good performance your talent is noticed and talked about in the newspapers”. This is particularly helpful in becoming professional cricketers.

Abhishek came to Lucknow from Sultanpur to study. In school, he discovered his passion for cricket, and realized that excelling in this game will help him achieve his ambition of “making it big in life”. Abhishek is an all-rounder and hopes to play nationally.

“If you are a champion in your city, then you get noticed by selectors who invite you to cricket camps where you are noticed by national-level selectors”.

Abhishek is concentrating on perfecting his bowling technique. His role model is England’s bowler, Graeme Swann, because he has an uncanny ability to introduce variability in his bowling length that confuses and misleads the batsmen. In the Indian team, Abhishek admires R. Ashwin who has a similar ability.

Burning desire

These budding cricketers have a burning desire not just to personally perform well, but also to ensure victory for their team.

Yuvraj says, “I want to play to the best of my ability because I want my team to win”.

Although still very young, these boys seem to understand the true meaning of team spirit.

“Cricket is very close to my heart and I have played cricket since school,” says Anurag Mishra, the brain behind the idea, adding that the opportunity to play cricket competitively is recent.

Elaborating on the importance of competitiveness Anurag said that without competition it is not possible to know where you stand.“You have to evolve. You cannot be an egg in a basket forever. You have to hatch and transform yourself,”he smiles.

This is how the idea of competitive league-style cricket in Lucknow took shape.

The competition attracted 18 school teams this year and played in the 20/20 format. These included St. Dominics; Modern School, LPS, Sector D, LDA; Central Academy, Indiranagar; St. Francis College; Modern Academy, Gomtinagar; Unity College; LPC, Shardanagar; HOERNER College; Dr. Virendra Swaroop; CMS, Gomtinagar; CMS, Kanpur Road; Sacred Heart; DPS, Eldeco; LPC, Gomtinagar; Sri Ramswaroop; Jaipuria School; and St. Joseph School.

The plan is to increase the number of participating teams to 35 in the future and to invite teams from around the country, transforming the local school competition into a national inter-school cricket tournament.

Sponsored by Jyoti Envirotech since last year, the corporate support for promoting sporting competitions is noteworthy. For there is a huge pool of untapped sporting talent pool in Lucknow. And cricket is not the only sport on the mind of Anurag and his associates like the Times of India Group.

Similar sporting leagues for football are planned during monsoons this year.

Hopefully you will be there as well to cheer for your favorite football team, splashing its way around a wet, rain-soaked field, with a ball skillfully jangling around their feet!

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