T20 WC: Netravalkar recalls U-15 days boding with SKY

Prameyanews English

Published By : Prameya News Bureau | June 12, 2024 IST

Saurabh Netravalkar

New York, June 12: They played together, were good friends. But destiny and carrer put them against each other as India play the USA in the ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2024 in a Group A match, here on Wednesday.

Ahead of USA facing India at the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium, left-arm fast-bowler Saurabh Netravalkar recalled how in-form batter Suryakumar Yadav has been a close friend since his U15 days in Mumbai.

The USA has never faced India in any format of men's international cricket and the side is full of Indian players like Netravalkar, Harmeet Singh, captain Monank Patel, Milind Kumar, Noshtush Kenjige, Nisarg Patel, who were a part of the domestic set-up in various age-groups and at senior level before life took them to the US, a side they are now representing in the T20 World Cup.

"Suryakumar has been a close friend, actually. I've seen him since our under-15 days; we kind of grew up playing for Mumbai together. He was always special, scoring double hundreds and stuff in under-15 and under-17 matches," recalled Netravalkar, the former India U19 player, while speaking to broadcasters Star Sports. "So, he had that flair about him, and we knew he would go on to do something special."

"He got a chance to play for India later than I expected, but I'm really happy for him. I'm excited to meet him, and it’s an opportunity to play not just against him but also against a lot of the guys we played with. I don't know how to get Surya out, but I think I'll just try to do my role, what the team needs me to do, and we'll see how it goes," he added.

Harmeet, the left-arm spin all-rounder who was a member of India U19 side winning 2012 World Cup, talked about how he looked up to current India captain Rohit Sharma when in Mumbai. "Growing up, I used to look up to Rohit Sharma. Rohit comes from my school, and he had just graduated when I entered. I made my first-class debut with him, and he played in the under-19 World Cup a few tournaments before me," he said.

"It was really exciting to see someone from the suburbs of Mumbai going out there and conquering the world. In Bombay, it was all about the beyond Bandra schools and cricketers, but Rohit started that in the suburbs, and from there we all followed. Some other guys I have played under-19 India with are Sanju, Kuldeep, and Axar. It'll be fun catching up and playing against them as well," Harmeet added.

Monank, the current USA captain who played age-group cricket for Gujarat, spoke about his connection with India’s left-arm spin all-rounder Axar Patel. "I have played with Axar and Bumrah in under-19 and under-15 matches. Axar comes from the same town where I am from. It's a small town, and he has obviously motivated and encouraged a lot of youngsters from there. I'm happy to see them growing and playing good cricket."

Fast-bowling all-rounder Corey Anderson, who previously played international cricket for New Zealand, shared his thoughts on how excited he is to face up against his once upon a time Mumbai Indians team-mate Jasprit Bumrah. "I've got a bit of a soft spot for Bumrah. I think I was at Mumbai when he was first introduced to MI, and watching him develop from this raw natural talent to one of the best bowlers in the world has been amazing."

 “It's cool to see that progress throughout because you see the things they talk about early in their careers, and how they gain experience. To watch him reach his potential is awesome. We’re obviously going to come up against him, and he can do some serious damage. I think it’s going to be extremely exciting to face him as well," he concluded.

They may be playing for different nations, but cricket can still keep them close always. Even some India and Pakistan cricketers have always respected their friendship. Hopefully, Suryakumar and Netravalkar will keep intact their friendship wearing jersey of different nations. (With IANS support)  

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