Former India opener Gautam Gambhir, in his effort to give back to the game, as part of a venture to promote cricket, gave a send-off to 15 of 33 aspiring cricketers from India selected for a five-year cricket scholarship. The selected players will to go to Guildford Grammar School, Perth, Australia, for 21 days of overseas training. They will be coached by former South African cricketer HD Ackerman in the training camp in Perth.
Over 5000 cricketers from 17 cities spread across 10 states had signed up for the programme. Among 33 selected players, one of most inspiring stories is of Anuj Chapraana from Meerut.
Chapraana worked as a security guard at night and played cricket in the day. The night job paid the bills for his mother and him. At 23, the right-arm fast bowler dreams of making big in cricket.
Talking about the initiative, where Gambhir has tied up Funngage.com for the venture, said: "It is difficult to say that this will be a feeder, but ultimately you want good talent to come forward and achieve their dreams of playing at the highest level, that is the ultimate aim of Funngage too."
Sachin NS, the son of a farm labourer who hails from a village 250 kms from Bengaluru, has now got a new life through cricket.
"We started playing tennis ball cricket in village. For two years, I have been staying in a dormitory, have played for the under-16 and under-19 cricket state cricket teams. Now at 23, I am staying with one of my friends who is like my brother, he supports me financially. This scholarship is the one big support I was looking for," Sachin said.
Tanveer Ahmed, an all-rounder from Kashmir, was working for an MNC. Talking about the problems he had to face to pursue his passion, Ahmed: "There is very less cricket infrastructure, if you want to make it big from Kashmir, you have to overcome several obstacles.
"When one gets the way, however difficult it may be, he tries to take that path. The scholarship will help me overcome financial problems and give me the support that each cricketer needs on the field," he added.