India U19, American College Cricket, USA Team- A Dream Lives On For Saurabh!

Saurabh Netravalkar (Cornell & India U19) & Hassan Mirza (Ryerson & CCC)

Saurabh Netravalkar (Cornell & India U19) & Hassan Mirza (Ryerson & CCC)

It was announced that former India World Cup U19 Saurabh Netravalkar was selected for the USA team to play in the West Indies Regional Super50 tournament. But when Saurabh came to Cornell University in Aug 2015 he didn’t expect to play cricket, and so didn’t even bring his cricket shoes. Next thing he knew, in 1 month he was playing for Cornell in the American College Cricket Ivy League Championships helping them get to the Finals.The North East Championship followed and Saurabh was impressed with his fellow students, “I was pleasantly surprised to see how competitive the cricket was and there were some talented players”.

Jan 2016 Saurabh then played for the American College Cricket USA team vs Canadian College Cricket All Stars in a 2-1 Series victory. He couldn’t make the next Series (in Canada) as he was graduating that weekend but was appointed as the Captain of the ACC team for the Jan 2017 Series which they won 3-0, and for the Jan 27 & 28, 2018 Series VI which he will now miss.The Series was started in 2015 to commemorate the 1844 cricket match between USA & Canada that was the 1st sporting event between 2 countries, which marked the 1st time young men from different countries fought on a playing, not battle field.

On 2 separate occasions for the ACC USA team he sealed the win in the final over with his tight bowling. His batting included innings of 75, 73*,77 & 46 with a Strike Rate of 174, his first innings he smashed 75 in 46 balls with 5 fours & 5 sixes vs Penn, then vs the strong Ryerson attack he cracked 73* in 35 balls with 7 sixes & 2 fours ! His interview at the North East C’ship was viewed by thousands, becoming the most popular ACC video of 2015, and his action photos well “liked” on Facebook. This made the left hand pacer well known across USA & Canadian cricket. Saurabh is very appreciative,“I’m grateful to American College Cricket for bringing me back into the game, giving me motivation & for providing a tremendous platform, not only for playing but also for spotlighting its players”.

Saurabh opened the bowling for India in the 2010 World Cup,“Wearing the India colors and hearing the Indian National Anthem at the World Cup was a special & supreme feeling, every kid’s dream” then on his return to India Saurabh continued his education during which time he played for Mumbai University when they “won the Regional universities tournament and reached the Nationals finals.Simultaneously he played Corporate cricket for Air India under the Captaincy of Yuvraj Singh as well as for Bharat Petroleum & Tata.” He graduated from Mumbai in 2013 with a Degree in Computer Engineering then pursued cricket full time and made his First Class debut for Mumbai and played 10 List A matches. However “it is extremely hard to retain a place in the Mumbai team, as they have so many talented cricketers,so when I got accepted to Cornell, an Ivy League and top computer science university, I had to make a decision about my long term future and make a choice between my education and cricket.”

Lloyd Jodah, American College Cricket President, “Without knowing his background, his run up & bowling caught my eye then when we met Saurabh impressed me with his humility, though he had played at such high levels. He took an interest in how we were developing the game and chatted with me about our history. When we had the North East All Stars vs Mid Atlantic All Stars 6 months later, he took a 2 am bus from Cornell, travelling 6 hours to play 2 games then go back. After graduating he asked if I could find a team for him in the Silicon Valley area where he got a job. So I put him in touch with Shiva Vashishat (UC Davis) who captained the 2010 USA World Cup U19 team and lived in that area !

Though his fellow players admire his on field accomplishments, Saurabh is very humble with a great grasp of leadership and off the field aspects of the game and willingly supports our Social Media strategies for example.He contributes in an advisory capacity to American College Cricket and will make a great Captain of the USA Team in the future. A perfect example of the importance of marrying the game with education, in fact I’d like to see media attribute players (as we do) to the college they attended just as other sports do in America. So far even this simple act cricket omits. Under “major teams” on cricket media you don’t see their college named, a real disservice to their education.”

Like many of us, Saurabh started playing as a boy “when my father & his friends used to play with tennis & rubber ball in the apartment community. My Dad also played college cricket and has been my first, and most important inspiration. My Mom and Dad have put in a lot of sacrifices without which I would not be where I am. In India my Dad would attend all of my games, and watch the entire match !”
His sister Nidhi eagerly shared videos & news of his American College Cricket successes.

For Saurabh he has in common with other American College Cricket players the unexpected continuation of their cricket dreams, and now with a Masters in Computer Science and a USA team selection that dream has been extended for the tall left arm fast bowler who once again has uses for his cricket shoes. B1

Saurabh receiving the Jodah 1844 from Lloyd for winning the 4th ACC USA vs Canada Series.

Saurabh receiving the Jodah 1844 from Lloyd for winning the 4th ACC USA vs Canada Series.

Posted by ljodah | Cornell University,NEWS,Universities

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