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Former India U19 pacer Saurabh Netravalkar is now leading the USA cricket team
By Sandy - Nov 6, 2018 12:31 pm
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In the last month, on his 27th birthday, former India U19 pacer Saurabh Netravalkar has been selected as the captain of United States national cricket team. He has an amazing journey towards this career.

Netravalkar
Saurabh Netravalkar

The first time he came to the limelight in 2010, when he represented the India U19 cricket team in the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup in New Zealand. While the defending champions India finished the tournament at the sixth position, the left-arm pacer Saurabh Netravalkar finished the tournament as the leading wicket-taker for India by taking nine wickets in six matches with the average of 17.22.

Netravalkar
Saurabh Netravalkar during the 2010 ICC U19 Cricket World Cup

In December 2013, Netravalkar made his first-class debut for Mumbai but played the only first-class game against Karnataka and soon he quit cricket to study computer science at Cornell University.

Recently, in an interview to TOI, Netravalkar told about his decision to quit the cricket at that time, “I devoted two years fulltime to cricket but felt I wasn’t making it to the next level.”

After completing the engineering graduate from Sardar Patel Institute of Technology (Mumbai), he took the GRE and TOEFL exams and then he pursued Masters in Cornell where he restarted the cricket career.

Talking about how he restarted his career, Netravalkar said, “When I came here in 2015, I had no expectation of playing cricket. In the college, I saw a few people playing the game and just joined them. I heard of an organisation called American College Cricket. I met its founder Lloyd Jodah who used to organise regional and national tournaments for universities. That’s how I started playing cricket again. After I graduated I got a job as a software engineer at Oracle in San Francisco, where I live now. Here, I got in touch with a few good clubs. I play for Marin Cricket Club. Timil Patel, a former Gujarat all-rounder and US vice-captain, also introduced me to his club in Los Angeles, Vijeta CC. LA has proper pitches. On weekends, there are prize money tournaments where big players come and I get good exposure.”

Netravalkar
Saurabh Netravalkar

When he was asked how he managed to give the time in serious cricket along with the job, Netravalkar replied, “On Friday, I used to leave a little early from office with a fellow player and drive to LA. We would play a 50-over game in LA on Saturday. Then we would drive back in the night and play a 50-over game in San Francisco on Sunday. It was back to work on Monday. I put in a lot of effort which was noticed by the selectors. I got picked this January when I became eligible for national selection.”

Talking about the present USA national cricket team, Netravalkar said that currently the national players are only based on the Test-playing members – mostly from the West Indies, India and Pakistan. However, the next generations are growing up very well in local as the present national cricketers are influencing them very positively to take up this game.

As feeling proud of becoming a captain of USA national cricket team, they are now eyeing for the 2023 ICC Cricket World Cup qualifier as their next mission is ICC World Cricket League Division III.