Ex-India U19 pacer who quit cricket for engineering to lead US cricket team in World Cup qualifiers

01:59PM Sun 4 Nov, 2018

In 2010, left-arm seamer Saurabh Netravalkar had finished as India’s leading wicket-taker at the Under-19 World Cup in a side that included now household names like KL Rahul, Mandeep Singh, Mayank Agarwal, Sandeep Sharma and Jaydev Unadkat. His scalps in the tournament included now England’s Test captain Joe Root. Next week, he is set to lead the United States cricket team in the ICC World Cricket League Division 3 which will serve as the qualifier for the 2023 ODI World Cup. The journey has been an incredible one for Netravalkar who had made his first-class debut for Mumbai in 2013. After trying his luck in domestic cricket for two years, Netravalkar who is an engineering graduate from Sardar Patel Institute of Technology in Mumbai, took the GRE and TOEFL exams and went to Cornell for a Master’s in 2015. During his time at Cornell, he started playing cricket again and in January this year, was picked in the national side after he became eligible. After graduation, he got a job as a software engineer at Oracle and continues to do that along with playing cricket. Speaking to TOI, Netravalkar said the US cricket team is a mix of many players mostly from the West Indies, India and Pakistan. The team is coached by Pubudu Dassanyake who has kept wickets for Sri Lanka in both ODIs as well as Tests. “It is an honour to be part of the national team. We went to West Indies this year to play in their first-class circuit to which they have added the US and Canada as foreign teams. I performed well and was picked to play Caribbean Premier League for Guyana Amazon Warriors. I didn’t get a game though,” he was quoted as saying. Netravalkar wasn’t the only Indian player to be picked in the US side for WCL 3. Former Kings XI Punjab and Deccan Chargers batsman Sunny Sohal who also made his US debut in January this year, was another exciting name on the list. However, Sohal who turns 31 this week, failed his fitness test and was replaced by Nisarg Patel. The tournament will take place in Oman from November 9 to 19. Squad: Saurabh Netravalkar (capt), Jaskaran Malhotra (wk), Nisarg Patel, Steven Taylor, Alex Amsterdam, Jannisar Khan, Roy Silva, Monank Patel, Timil Patel, Aaron Jones, Hayden Walsh Jr., Elmore Hutchinson, Ali Khan, Nosthush Kenjige. Source: Financial Express