Two Amdavadis have cruised into the Indian team for U-19 cricket World Cup scheduled in Australia next month. All-rounder Rush Kalaria and wicketkeeper-batsman Smit Patel are in the 15-member team that was announced by the All India Junior Selection Committee in Delhi on Tuesday.
In India, a cricketer’s talent and promise is judged on the basis of his performance against archrivals Pakistan. And when Rush Kalaria picked up nine wickets in two matches, including a final, against the neighbouring nation in the recently concluded Asia Cup in Malaysia, the lanky youth had booked his place on an Australia-bound flight.
“I believe my performance against Pakistan did me a lot of good. One can say that it gave me the edge and also increased my confidence,” said Kalaria, who is feeling on top of the world.
Kalaria’s fiver in the final enabled the boys in blue to restrict Pakistan inside 300. India replied strongly through captain Unmukt Chand. However, the match ended in a tie and both the teams shared the honours.
Kalaria will have his city mate Smit in the team. “I am really happy for Smit. It is always good to have someone you know personally.
Moreover, as he is a wicketkeeper, he helps me understand batsmen,” said Kalaria, who couldn’t stop himself from showering praise on his friend-cum-teammate.
In the last five months, Indian Colts have played against all the competitive nations except South Africa. “We have faced almost all the nations who will be participating in the World Cup. It will certainly act as a catalyst when we plan our strategy before every match in Australia,” said an elated Smit.
Interestingly, India will have only one wicketkeeper-batsman, which means Smit will virtually be part of all matches. “This is an honour for me as it indicates the faith that the selectors had in me. I will give my best,” said Smit.
It has come as double bonanza for Tarak Trivedi who happens to be the coach of both Smit and Rush. “It is a proud moment for me. The hard work has finally paid off,” said Trivedi, credited for producing Harshal Patel.