Even though Virat Kohli scored a magnificent century against New Zealand in his 200th ODI at Wankhede Stadium yesterday, Mumbai's promising under-14 all-rounder Aayush Zimre had already caught the India captain at 47 - on the boundary - as a ball boy. Kohli reached 47 with a well-timed hook shot over the fine leg fence off Kiwi pacer Adam Milne. Though the ball was out of reach for fielder Colin Munro, Aayush, who was stationed behind the ropes, grabbed the ball in one hand, a 'performance' which attracted praise from the spectators, commentators and journalists.
Aayush, a probable in the Mumbai under-16 team is a left-arm spinner and middle-order batsman. He claimed 19 wickets for Mumbai in the U-14 tournament last season. A splendid 86 and a six-wicket match-winning spell against Maharashtra has been highlight of his cricketing life. Aayush was doing ball boy duty for the second time at this historic venue, the first being two years ago when South Africa beat India. "Actually, I was getting bored. The ball didn't come in my direction. Even before Kohli hit that particular shot I was not in a standing position, but I saw his bat and tried to get myself in line of the ball. I was totally blank after the incident, but later on, I didn't miss a single ball," said Aayush.
The biggest compliment for Aayush was when Kohli appreciated his effort. "His was the best compliment for me. New Zealand's Munro, Tom Bruce and a member of the support staff along with the spectators congratulated me too," he said. Aayush's father Nishigandh was thrilled. "During his last match as a ball boy, only three to four balls came his way. I appreciate the fact that he kept his cricketing basics in mind and took this catch which was out of reach," said Nishigandh.
Nishigandh revealed that his son was more interested in 100m and 200m sprints than cricket when he was at Vasant Vihar school in Thane where he won seven awards in athletics. "However, one day, after playing tennis ball cricket with the boys from our building society, senior journalist Madhukar Bhave found Aayush's ball sense impressive and immediately asked me to look after his cricket. We then shifted him to VN Sule Guruji Vidya Mandir in Dadar," said Nishigandh. Aayush will hold on to many catches as his cricketing career blossoms, but he'll never forget the catch that changed his life.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)