Tag Archives: Cricket

Cupertino: Field of Dreams For Young Cricketers

Cricket is a sport that hundreds and millions of people around the world play every single day. Several individuals and organizations have shaped cricket to bring it to where it is today. These organizations not only improve the cricketing conditions for current players, but they also play a paramount role in inspiring the youth.

The California Cricket Academy (CCA) has emerged as a unique organization in the Bay Area that promotes the dreams of young cricketers. CCA is also the first cricket academy and youth league for children from 6 to 17 years in the United States.

Recently the California Cricket Academy developed the first turf cricket field in the Bay Area. This is a huge milestone not only for CCA but also for cricket in America. The cricketing youth in America will now have a world-class facility to play the sport they love. 

As Leslie Mains of the Cupertino School District put it, This is a sport that is loved by many members of our community and such facilities allow youth (and others) an opportunity to learn about the game, receive coaching on fields designated for this purpose, and provide resources to the growing number of players in our community.” 

Every CCA player is over the moon and really optimistic to play on this newly developed cricket pitch. A right-handed fast bowler and right-handed batsman named Aarav Bhat said, “This new field is the road to accomplish my dreams.” 

New cricket field in Cupertino.

The new facility also delighted the coaches, who put all their time into helping youth improve their skills and teaching them the fundamentals behind the sport. Coach Tushar Arothe of CCA proclaimed, Our turf pitch has come up very good, never expected this sort of bounce on the pitch. If you ask me from a cricketer point of view – it’s true pitch, which means it’s good for batting and bowling.”

Additionally, a parent, Nosheen Taskeen had to say, “This pitch will carve the way for first-class cricketers in the future.” 

One specific person has worked extremely hard for the production of the new cricket field and that person is the President of CCA, Kinjal Buch. She said, We are extremely excited as we now have a proper cricket facility to host international youth teams from all over the world. We always had world-class coaches and now this facility fills the quality infrastructure gap.”

The Luther cricket field will remain a sign of strength for cricket in the United States and will motivate other cities to spread the positivity that is present in this beautiful game.

To contact CCA, email them at calcricket_academy@yahoo.com and visit facebook.com/calcricket for watching more action videos on the new field.


Waleed Siddiqui is a CCA Player and Lynbrook High Student.

Heart To Heart with Sunil Gavaskar

USA Tour 2019 hosted by H2H Foundation On Saturday, September 07, 2019 from 12:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. At the India Community Center, 525 Los Coches St, Milpitas, CA 95035 

India remains the world capital for Congenital Heart Disease (CHD), with 300,000 children born each year. Without medical/surgical care, 100s of thousands of CHD children die before their 1st birthday, contributing to over 10% of the Infant Mortality Rate, many more die in infancy or in the preschool ages! Only a small fraction of children with CHD can afford the cardiac surgery, which can cost over $100,000 in the United States. 

Heart to Heart (H2H) Foundation is a non profit organization dedicated to saving the lives of children born with CHD, by providing FREE pediatric cardiac surgeries in collaboration with the group of Sanjeevani Hospitals in India. Since February 2014, these hospitals have also been providing free-of-cost primary, secondary, and tertiary healthcare exclusively to children with CHD. There are no billing department or payment counter located in these hospitals. Currently operating in Naya Raipur (Chhattisgarh), Palwal (Haryana), and Kharghar (Navi Mumbai), H2H is committed to break the vicious “health-poverty cycle” for the rural poor in India and in many other countries. 

Highly competent, comprehensive, compassionate care is given to all patients completely free, while their families receive free housing and free food. Frugal innovations in CHD care have reduced the average cost of an open-heart surgery to only $1,200 per patient, which would otherwise be $75,000 to $125,000 in the United States and $5,000 to $9,000 in India. More details on H2H can be found at https//www.h2h.foundation. 

Sunil Gavaskar, former Indian Legendary cricketer, inspirational speaker, philanthropist and the chairman of H2H foundation is touring all across the USA to raise awareness and funds to support the cause. A recipient of Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan awards for his contribution to Indian cricket, Mr. Gavaskar has personally sponsored 34 surgeries to match his 34 test centuries. 

A Meet & Greet Luncheon event with Sunil Gavaskar is being hosted by H2H Foundation on the 7th of September, 2019, at India Community Center, 525 Los Coches St, Milpitas, CA 95035. Come, engage in a freewheeling conversation with the cricket legend where he will share interesting anecdotes and inspiring experiences. Interact with Sunil Gavaskar and tap into his wealth of wisdom on leadership, career, and life and take away insights on how to learn, lead, and live. You also get to take away cricket bats and other memorabilia signed by Gavaskar as souvenirs of a memorable event. 

For Event details and tickets, visit https://www.h2h.foundation/H2H-with-Gavaskar Tickets can be purchased at Sulekha.com: $30 (limited seats), $50, $100 

Lunch is served at 12:30 p.m. (included with the admission for all) 

For sponsorship & partnership, please call 408-601-0237 or email: info.usa@h2h.foundation 

To learn more about CHD, please contact: Dr. K. J. S. (“Sunny”) Anand, MBBS, D.Phil, Professor of Pediatrics, Anesthesiology, Perioperative & Pain Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine. Email: anandsunny108@gmail.com

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Game Of The Gods: A Billion Dreams

What makes people take their life over a mere sport? Like the Kolkata man did over Dhoni’s run out, widely regarded as the pivotal moment in India’s dashed hopes of making it to the World Cup final. This sport has made grown men and women break down in ways completely unimaginable. The World Cup final proved that nice guys do not finish last. While England won, based on some archaic rule, underdogs New Zealand, won the hearts of anyone obsessed with this sport, which is often called the gentleman’s game. And in this final, it appeared the nicest boys in the game lost to the inventors and often the ones most vilified by Indians worldwide, thanks to our colonial past.
Sports, religion, culture and life. There seems to be no semblance of a difference, given the behavior of cricket teams on the pitch; like the laidback party vibes of the West Indies, a modern South Africa, emerging from the shadows of apartheid, not to speak of Pakistan and Bangladesh forever trying to assert their stamp over their proverbial father, India.
Meanwhile, India struggles with the worst hangover ever. A sport that is tailor made to the age old Indian values of guru-shishya, discipline, mindfulness, rigor, slogging without reward, and a deep defiance to the colonial sword of the British.
For every Indian kid taking up the willow, it is akin to brandishing a sword at their colonial former masters’ throats. Like a rebel call, any cricketer drawn from the subcontinent, male or female, looks at the game as a way to express themselves so they may each serve as a role model of taking down the bastion of British imperialism.
This is why the Indian diaspora, from US TO UK to India to Australia and New Zealand, descended in droves for the UK-hosted World Cup. We believed that we would be valiant. The finals, won by the hosts in a contentious contest and after dubious decision making, reminded us of our own nebulous and dysfunctional relationships with our families and loved ones. Pakistan and India – when it comes to cricket it is the closest we come to war. The many moments of cross border valor on the field have been highlighted amply on YouTube. It’s made legends of ordinary cricketers like Venkatesh Prasad and Gods of mortals like Yuvraj Singh and Sachin Tendulkar.
Sachin is God. Not because of his array of shots for every ball, but his grit, disciple, single minded devotion for the sport and his record against Pakistan. Sachin against any nation could have been equally heroic, but against Pakistan, he proved his mettle time and again. And that’s what the legends will retell. A 16 year old boy, bloodied by the fearsome twosome of Pakistan; Wasim and Waqar. How this little boy defied them, and took the feared Pakistani and subsequently other opposition players to the sword, has led to generations naming their young infants, Sachin.
Why do Indians relate to cricket at such a deep level? It is pretty obvious that we are a one sport nation. It’s because through cricket we have found a way to throw off the colonial shackles. To beat the inventors of the game that rampantly abused our emotions for three centuries. Every far flung six, or blow at 90 mph at their heads, is a reaffirmation of our masculinity. That’s why this puzzling game which depends on weather, statistics, skills, fitness and an assortment of colorful men endures. We don’t need more teams, we need more competitive teams. The game that led to nations wanting to destroy the inventors of the game on the field, has taken unprecedented proportions.
For every time a Mahendra Dhoni lifts  the cup, a  young boy (and now lass) realizes that the best revenge is to keep beating the English. In this most baffling, romantic, frustrating and tearful of sports, cricket for Indians isn’t just passion, it’s an obsession. The next time, India will host the World cup. And after the hoopla over the current champions, England dies down, Indians will be collectively bleeding blue. And screaming for the Cup that brought the entire British empire down, in a glorious heated Indian summer sunset.
Currently, Virat Kohli, the much tattooed and omnipotently talented batsman is leading millenial India’s charge into the dawn. His rebellious, foul mouthed, gladitorial beard and impeccable physique have not only inspired a generation of cricket fans, but inspired a clone army. The Give Blood or Bleed Blue army. A fitness icon, he has inspired a new India to go fearlessly after what is s yours, and sometimes even after what is not.  He is the direct descendent of Sourav Ganguly, the blue blooded Royal who made Gods of gifted but unsure youngsters. Under his tutelage, India witnessed the renaissance of cricket. Coinciding with the liberalization of India, a whole generation learnt to dream big. No dream was out of reach. And you could scream open lunged at the wide heavens while you brandished your shirt, naked torsoed and aggressive to the core, like a victory flag at Lord’s, like Sourav did. This openly victorious walk of Godly stature, and defiance, and the proof that yes, we could be the Gods on Earth, in something led to an open revolution.
From the cricket obsessed Google CEO Sunder Pichai to every actor who dreams of starring in the next cricket legends’s biopic, to the school boy and girl who know that their dream is just a stroke away. For this is the a game of Gods, played by and for romantics. For every heartbreaking win and every exhilarating shot out of the ground, a new generation is captivated by the imagination of the game. To know that you don’t have to be the fittest, the strongest, the most powerful. What you need is a stroke of luck, reasonable talent and timing, a vibrant personality and a screen presence. For when the lights go down, we need Gods to merge into our consciousness. They glance at the sun superstitiously, adjust their pads, tweak their helmets, but never lose sight of the fact that they’re still chasing down the glory of the British empire on behalf of each and every one of us!

NRIs Travel to the Cricket World Cup

India Currents Managing Editor, Nirupama Vaidhyanathan traveled to Manchester, U.K. to watch the Cricket World Cup with fans from across the globe. She live-blogged the India Bangladesh match for us:

4:02 am PST: Among a sea of blue. Shouts of Jeetegaa Jeetegaa, India Jeetegaa erupt in unison. The sound moves from stand to stand in succession. The tricolor flag of India is everywhere.

And have you heard about the Bharat army? They do not wear army gear. Oh no! They carry the dholak and wield curved sticks that beat out a rhythm energizing Indian fans into a frenzy of dancing and whistling.

Am I in a cricket ground in India or England? I have to remind myself that I’m indeed in the land of high tea, scones and orange marmalade. To be in a sea of Indian cricket fans from all over the world is an experience that defies a wordy description.

The India Bangladesh match in Birmingham is quite an experience for the senses.

5:50 am PST: The captains take the field for the toss and Kohli won the toss electing to bat first.  His choice was greeted with cheers and it seems to have paid off. The runs have been flowing at a steady pace. Opener Rohit Sharma scored an effortless century and lost his wicket right after.  KL Rahul provided to be a steady partner at the other end scoring 77 before losing his wicket. With a couple of wickets falling after that, i witnessed a confident  48 runs from  Rishabh Pant.  With the departure of Pant, it’s Dhoni and Dinesh Karthik with the score at 277 for 5.

9:43 am PST: India finished with a score of 314 for 5, lower than what was expected in what is turning to be a batting wicket.

Only when Bangladesh took strike, could you even hear the cheers of the small but noisy contingent of fans wearing green supporting Bangladesh. Their captain Shakib has departed after a strong knock of 66. The batsmen so far have shown a lot of heart holding down their wickets and adding a steady stream of runs on the board. With Bangladesh racing to 200 the Indian fans are suddenly silent, watching intently waiting for the fall of wickets that India sorely needs.

9:53 am PST: 91 runs required off 65 balls now.

10:36 am PST: Finally, after a few overs where the Bangladeshi batsmen kept hitting the ball to the perimeter, India prevailed. What a feeling! Cricket unifies Indians from all over the globe in a way that nothing else can.

11:24 am PST: The tunes I heard today? Jai Ho with a lot of bhangra in between. Every tune and every shout resonated. But the tune that was the loudest? Jana gana mana of course.  The vibes of good luck from Desi fans traveled through the air with each note and carried the team to the finish.

What a phenomenal experience!

 

Carpe Diem..Carpe Cricket

 

The Roman poet Horace wrote the following:  “carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero.”  Although my Latin is weak, here’s a Wiki translation:  “seize the present; trust tomorrow e’en as little as you may.”  

All humans seek a balance when they contemplate their past-present-future.  Some tend to be past-centric; others seize the day; and still others focus on the future.  Those in the latter group include those who lose sight of today’s gifts while yearning for tomorrow.  The examples are countless: instead of enjoying a particular class, a student takes courses that she thinks will get her into a prestigious college; ignoring the joy of reading to her baby, a mother dreams about her child becoming President someday; and remembering how he missed making it as a professional athlete, a father pushes his boys on the cricket pitch so that they will be the last ones standing on selection day.

Selection Day is Aravind Adiga’s novel about a small-town father – Mohan Kumar – who is monomaniacally obsessed with his sons – Radha Krishan and Manjunath  – making it to Bombay’s big-time cricket leagues. Taken at that surface level, the novel is a feel- good, “root for the underdogs” read. One cheers on as the boys heroically climb out of the slummy Dahisar suburb of Mumbai, with their willow bats, to perhaps become the next Sachin Tendulkar; even Mohan, who is a bit of a scoundrel as a peddler of chutneys and more than a bit of a creep as a groping father, will have some readers rooting for the Davids to defeat the Goliaths.  

While the description of cricket is nowhere near as compelling as C. L. R. James’ classic “Beyond a Boundary,” the sports writing here has an edge to it that keeps the reader glued.  At one point, a question is asked: “What is cricket?” A wag might respond, “It’s Adiga’s crutch, his back story.”  That said, Adiga’s response would have made James proud: “Cricket is the triumph of civilization over instinct… When the short-pitched ball comes screaming, and every instinct of panic tells you, close your eyes and turn your face, you must do what does not come naturally to you or to any man:  stay calm. Master your nature, play cricket.” Quite early on, one knows that this is not going to be a simple read about a cricket match or about a couple of strivers achieving their father’s goal of making them master batsmen. Like all literary fiction, it is about our natures, our characters.

The novel’s character-building carries the narrative.  Beyond Mohan, Radha, and Manju are Pramod Sawant (cricket coach), Tommy Sir (cricket impresario), Anand Mehta (cricket investor), Spotty Neck Sofia (unapproachable girlfriend), Javed Ansari (inscrutable boyfriend), and Bombay itself (pulsating city).  None of the characters are cardboard cutouts (though Sofia seems to be an afterthought in what is a very male-centered book). Mohan and his boys take center-stage throughout the novel, but when Pramod, Tommy, Anand, Sofia, and Javed speak, they come alive and move the tension forward.  And the city they live in stands out most prominently.

Adiga’s Mumbai doesn’t come scintillatingly alive the way Bombay does in Suketu Mehta’s “Maximum City,” but it is very present. It feels lived in, very much a breathing, raging city that is negotiating with Yama, the Lord of Death:  “Mumbai is a dying city, true. But there is one thing that it will always have.  One beautiful thing.  Integrity. The integrity of the Bombay common man, known and celebrated throughout India, deeper than granite, the true bedrock of the city.”

But Selection Day” demands a deeper reading beyond characters and settings, plots and subplots.  This novel is about selection of a different sort: selecting self, engaging with the postmodern understanding of choice in the modern world.  In this reading, the novel is about Manju finding his way in the world, his path that may or may not have anything to do with the footpaths that his father, the “Chutney Raja,” travels to earn his keep, nor anything to do with the cricket pitch between the wickets that his brother, the aspiring “world’s best batsman,” regularly ran on his way to record-setting centuries.

Manju’s struggles with his sexuality, his science, his suppression, and his sense of filial piety drive the heart of Selection Day.  While seemingly a quotidian novel centered around cricketers playing their hearts out so as to be selected to represent their family, their city, and their community, this book is actually an act of subversion:  Translate the old communal self into an individual whose motto is, “ My life is not limited by your imagination.” This is a self-help guide to half a billion people. Aravind Adiga takes on an alter ego character, a counselor who says to Manju:  ” Fifty percent of this country, that is half a billion people, are under the age of twenty-five, and we older Indians have no idea how to listen to them. I want to be the Mother Teresa of listening to your generation.”

Although ostensibly about cricket-playing teen-age boys raging with hormones, raised by a controlling father, and ready for shaving razors, Adiga’s work borders on a frenetic rebellion:  Rebellion against fathers, investors, coaches, the glorified past, the deferred future, and perhaps even rebellion against the given idea of India itself. Anyone seeking to preserve the status quo might find himself/herself afraid of this new voice of India, this voice raised from the neck upwards like a blade pushing up against the throat, scraping away innocent peach-fuzz and polluted urban filth from skin unprotected by soapy, perfumed lather.  

Adiga’s effect is to encourage change in the young, while instilling fear in the old.  Here is an emboldened Manju sharing his freedom with Javed: “This morning I shaved again, and I can’t believe it, the way my father [who has prohibited shaving] looks at me now.  He’s scared.”  There is a pause and Javed responds, “Mine is scared of me, too.  All of them are.”

For Arvind and Ashok, two of the co-founders of India Currents who courageously found their paths.

Swinging Second to None

Swinging Second to None

SACHIN–A Billion Dreams.  Director: James Erskine.  Music: A. R. Rahman.  Marathi, Hindi and English with Eng sub-titles.  Theatrical release (200 NotOut Productions)
No matter how one approaches an entry like Sachin: A Billion Dreams, either as docu-biopic or nostalgia trip down sporting glory memories, one thing become abundantly clear. India can get as crazy about cricket as, say, Argentina or Brazil get about soccer, Americans about football, Canadians about ice hockey and Cubans about baseball. That is to say the entire nation goes completely gaga around major cricket events in the year. The other takeaway is that the story of Indian cricket, indeed the story of all cricket, cannot be complete without a chapter or two on Sachin Tendulkar, the Indian cricket king who, as outlined pretty well in Sachin: A Billion Dreams, elevated the sport and the nation along with him to new heights.Sachin: A Billion Dreams

Etched out as an origin story in the early going, Tendulkar’s middle-class Bombay upbringing is nicely reinforced with the story of his father Ramesh Tendulkar, a professor of Marathi, and his homemaker mother Rajni. Taken under the wing by older brother Ajit from Sachin’s early teens, the spark of raw talent showed promising potential. From a prodigy selected to play in a test match against Pakistan at a record-setting and astonishingly young age of sixteen to his courtship and eventual marriage to his wife Anjali, that part of the meteoric arc flows with ease. A portrait begins to coalesce; that of unassuming, modest by any measure, and surprisingly grounded personality more interested in keeping in touch with his close-knit family then with any scoring statistic.

As appealing as it is, Sachin: A Billion Dreams, in part because Erskine’s movie has Tendulkar’s early childhood events staged with actors to maintain narrative cohesion, goes lacking as a true documentary. The overall feel is that of Tendulkar sitting down to narrate his life-story and then news footage or play-acting getting inserted for dramatic flair. Sachin: A Billion Dreams falls somewhere between fictitiously made biopics of real-life sport starts (Mary Kom, Baag Milkha Baag, Paan Singh Tomar, Azhar, M. S. Dhoni: The Untold Story or even Dangal) and outside observers connecting lost footage or home movies, formal or scratchy-mike informal interview and press clippings. In Hollywood, Steve James’ Hoop Dreams (basketball) and Stacey Peralta’s Dogtown and Z Boys (skateboarding) sway in that direction.

Where Sachin: A Billion Dreams misses out takes away absolutely nothing from Tendulkar as a phenomenal cricketeer, second perhaps only to the legendary Australian batsman Don Bradman as the all-time greatest, who broke and still holds so many records in test matches.  The feeding frenzy Tendulkar inspired in Indian cricket —making him by the far the greatest sports figure in India’s history—resulted in a mass following where the entire country practically shut down when this great player was doing his magic on international cricket pitches in televised games.  The closest popular figure to compare to such mass adulation would arguably be the following that movie star Amitabh Bachchan—a megastar of a different kind —generated in his prime.

Tendulkar’s arrival on the big cricket stage more or less paralleled the unveiling of “New India” under Rajiv Gandhi as Prime Minister. For international satellite channels first pitching globally-linked broadcasting tents in India, Tendulkar’s ascent pretty much summed up the story of India.  A talented/outward looking, young/youthful, man/nation,   breaking out onto the world stage, to batting invincibility/as a budding regional superpower.  The sports star symbolized the nation as much as the nation idolized this star.

Sachin: A Billion Dreams is more than nostalgia dressing and more than the true story of a sporting figure’s achievements as a first-among-equals modern gladiator with kill ratios that count on non-lethal charts. Sachin: A Billion Dreams may be appealing to something deeper. This simple surefire legend of a grounded mortal, whose followers may readily believe that his feet don’t necessarily touch the ground, resonates today when there is a subliminal hunger for truth, when many news stories are suspect, the ground rules are being re-written and perhaps even the playing field is shifting.  Let Sachin: A Billion Dreams resonate.

EQ: A