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DreamCricket Media Release
About 100 children had the rare privilege to learn from one of the greatest cricketers of all time this weekend when they took part in MetLife sponsors “Meet the Legend” Cricket Coaching Camp with Sunil Gavaskar at DreamCricket Academy in Hillsborough, N.J. Gavaskar, who played in 125 Tests and 108 ODIs for India in a decorated career from 1971-1987 and was the first batsman to score 10,000 career runs in Test cricket, said he was delighted by the support MetLife was giving to enable children to pursue their passion.
“Sports need enlightened sponsors and MetLife have been enlightened sponsors for such a long time because what they’ve done is invested in youth.” Gavaskar said. “I’m so happy to be here at this facility because I was here a couple of years back and to see again that DreamCricket continues to give the opportunity to youngsters to come and play their favorite sport is something which is absolutely terrific and of course without sponsors like MetLife, I don’t think cricket can survive.”
Image (above) - Cricket legend Sunil Gavaskar with youth cricketers from the first of three sessions as part of MetLife sponsors "Meet the Legend" Cricket Coaching Camp with Sunil Gavaskar at DreamCricket Academy in Hillsborough, N.J. [Courtesy: Peter Della Penna/DreamCricket.com]
Gavaskar was especially pleased to see the enthusiasm shown by children who were a part of the clinic because initiatives like this are what will sustain the game for future generations.
Image (right) - Sunil Gavaskar (right) shares some batting tips with DreamCricket Academy members Mohammed Surti (left) and Pranav Kanukollu (center). [Courtesy: Peter Della Penna/DreamCricket.com]
“It’s really a pleasure to be here because the first thing you see is the young eager faces,” Gavaskar said. “It takes me back to a time when I was a school kid and wanting to play cricket. At that stage, your ambitions were limited and you didn’t think about playing for your country. You just thought of trying to do well for your team to make sure that the sport you enjoyed was also a sport whereby you could learn from others. If you learn from that experience it helps you to improve and become a better cricketer but more than just being a cricketer I think what this sport teaches you is to become a good human being.”
The young cricketers, ages 7 through 16, were divided into three separate sessions by age. In the morning, Gavaskar took his time sharing batting and bowling tips with some of the more advanced players to sharpen up their skills with assistance from DreamCricket Academy coaches Earl Daley, Damion Morgan and Delkash Shahriarian.
In the afternoon, the youngest kids in attendance got the chance to ask Gavaskar various cricket related questions during a special Q & A session. Snoopy also made a special appearance for MetLife and got everyone excited by showing off his bowling skills. At the end of each session, every aspiring cricketer got the opportunity to have their picture taken with Gavaskar and Snoopy to cap off an amazing day.
Image (right) - Snoopy shows off his bowling skills. [Courtesy: Peter Della Penna/DreamCricket.com]
“I always love things with children so I enjoy watching them learn about the sport and interact with Sunil Gavaskar but what’s really fun for me is watching the parents who are totally in awe of being able to see their kids learn from a legend,” Laurel Daring, assistant vice president of multicultural marketing for MetLife, said. “In the South Asian community cricket is a huge sport so when this opportunity was presented to us, it really made sense that we could be part of doing something for the first time with DreamCricket and the USYCA that would help MetLife to be a part of cricket with something that is really loved by the community.”
The DreamCricket Academy in Hillsborough, N.J., has been a vital resource for young cricketers since 2008 by offering clinics and coaching camps throughout the year. Willow TV and the United States Youth Cricket Association partnered with DreamCricket to help organize the event for MetLife, which was yet another successful occasion for the development of youth cricket.
“These kids come together and practice day in and day out, they have the love and passion for the game,” Kranthi Bayya, DreamCricket CEO, said. “Having a living legend like Sunil Gavaskar come to visit, spend time with them and share his expertise with them validates our mission at DreamCricket to help support children while they pursue their love of cricket. Everyone knows that MetLife has been a valuable supporter of the South Asian community but this is the first time that they have engaged in youth cricket in America and we are thrilled that DreamCricket could help make it happen.”