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T20 WC: It's Netravalkar & Kenjige vs Rohit & Virat in New York

1 month ago 260

NEW DELHI: At the tender age of 18,

Saurabh Netravalkar

's fervent aspiration was to represent India at the pinnacle of international cricket. Although that dream remained unfulfilled, at 32, he now finds himself presented with an extraordinary opportunity to bowl against his nation of birth at the prestigious Twenty20 World Cup.
When the teams clash on Wednesday at Long Island's Nassau County International Stadium, a billion ardent cricket enthusiasts back in India will be watching the left-arm

United States

pacer with bated breath.

T20 World Cup Schedule | Points Table
Indian broadcaster Star Sports has already commenced promoting the encounter as an epic showdown between Mumbai-born Netravalkar and another U.S. player of Indian lineage, Alabama-born

Nosthush Kenjige

, pitted against India's illustrious batters

Rohit Sharma

and

Virat Kohli

.
Despite being the tournament favorite, India will approach the match with cautious optimism, having witnessed the U.S. orchestrate a stunning upset in world cricket by vanquishing Pakistan on Thursday.

From Mumbai to U.S. Stardom: Netravalkar's Journey

Netravalkar did indeed showcase his skills at the junior level for India. He was among the select group of 15 players who proudly donned the Indian colors at the Under-19 World Cup in 2009-10, alongside the likes of KL Rahul, who emerged as the most prominent name from that squad. Mayank Agarwal, Harshal Patel, Jaydev Unadkat, and Mandeep Singh also went on to make their mark on the international stage and secured lucrative Indian Premier League contracts.

For most Indian youngsters, achieving such heights in cricket is the ultimate aspiration. However, when those dreams remain unfulfilled, the majority find themselves grappling with the absence of a contingency plan.
Netravalkar, on the other hand, had a well-defined strategy in place.

With unwavering determination, he embarked on a journey to the U.S., where he pursued a master's degree in computer engineering at the prestigious Cornell University in 2015.
A decade later, Netravalkar's prowess with the ball propelled his team to a thrilling Super Over victory against former champions Pakistan.

Nosthush Kenjige's path to success

Similarly, Kenjige's path to success was paved with challenges. Despite failing to secure a contract in a local T20 league in Karnataka, India, he ventured to the U.S. to further his education while nurturing his cricketing ambitions. His perseverance paid off as Kenjige claimed three crucial wickets against Pakistan, showcasing his crafty left-arm spin.

Jones' blazing start to T20 World Cup
American batter Aaron Jones charted a slightly different course. He honed his skills in Barbados, playing alongside West Indies stalwarts Nicholas Pooran and Jason Holder before making his way north to spearhead the U.S. charge.
Jones set the tournament ablaze on opening day, amassing a scintillating 94 off a mere 40 deliveries as the U.S. effortlessly chased down Canada's formidable total of 194.
Top of the group
India and the U.S. currently sit atop Group A, having secured two victories apiece.
The U.S. requires just one more win in its remaining two fixtures—against India and Ireland—to cement its place in the Super Eight. Such an achievement would mark a significant milestone for the sport in the country and wholly vindicate the ICC's bold decision to grant co-hosting rights to the U.S..
India, on the other hand, is acutely aware that one more victory will guarantee its progression to the next round.
(With inputs from AP)

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