CCA returned from their tour of Gujarat on January 5th. Even though the boys lost on the field, they gained a wealth of experience. A tour of India is difficult for anybody, not least for those that rarely play on turf wickets.
CCA returned from their tour of Gujarat on January 5th after gaining a wealth of experience. A tour of India is difficult for anybody, not least for those that rarely play on turf wickets.
Cricket as it should be played - at Motera
The highlight of the tour for the young CCA Under 13 boys was the fourth match against Nadiad which they won on the back of some good partnerships and a 5-for by Roshan Varadarajan. Good innings by Dave Parikh (29) and Immanuel Amirathraj (24) helped the CCA side reach a respectable total of 154. A charged up Roshan Varadarajan then ensured that the match would not slip out of their hands - he bowled an impressive 8 overs in which he took 5 for 13 and the match was won.
That lone victory underscored the key takeaways for this young and hopeful touring side - put a price on the wickets and play the full overs; bowl your heart out; field like your life depended on it. That is exactly what the boys strived to do. Each time they successfully did that, they earned themselves invaluable experience. The opponents not only were older by a couple of years, they also had the home ground advantage. And yet, they did not do badly. As Arsh Buch says, "I think if some of our batsmen had had big scores we might have been able to win 3 or 4 games. Especially in Baroda and Motera."
Greeting the opponents
Some boys adjusted faster than other. Arsh Buch, Dave Parikh and Immanuel Amirathraj were the main run-getters - but they could have done even better had they capitalized on the good starts. With better shot selection and without the needless run-outs, these three talented batsmen (and perhaps the other batsmen too) would have returned with even higher aggregates. In the event, getting past 20s was a huge first hurdle for these boys to cross.
Arsh was able to overcome this first hurdle on two occasions - once when he scored 44 against Surat and again in the last match, when he scored 39 against Motera. For this, he was rewarded with 193 runs from 8 appearances putting him on the top of the batting ranks.
Arsh himself is somewhat humble about his record. "I would rate my performance as good, but I could have done much better . I regret I didn't turn those little scores into big scores because that would have made a big difference." Dave Parikh played a vital role in winning the Nadiad match and aggregated 132 on the tour. Immanuel impressed at the top and was third with 111.
CCA U13 team in front of the GCA Ahmedabad ground
To their credit, they were facing some really tough bowling and tight fielding. The matches were against strong teams and the bowlers were top-notch, the leg spinner they encountered in the Surat matches was "awesome" - perhaps somebody we might see playing for Team India in a few years.
In the bowling department, Arsh did well with the bowl to grab 7 wickets and Roshan Varadarajan truly earned his stripes with the five-for in Nadiad. For most the time, the attack was somewhat lackluster. When bowling second, the hapless bowlers never got a big total to defend.
Turf wickets are what we need!
The tour provided the boys with an opportunity to play on turf, and in the end, that was the biggest reward from undertaking the tour. In the words of the coach, "Due to cement wicket practice (the boys) don’t lean on the ball while playing spinners. Stand and deliver policy will not work on turf wickets. You have to use your footwork and play spinners." That in the end was the biggest lesson for the boys.
How the tour progressed?
Match 1 (December 22): The first match against Ahmedabad district was a tough one. The boys had literally just landed in India and they were now playing in Motera against a tough side. Ahmedabad showed how it was done by reaching 210 in 40 overs. In reply, CCA U13 started reasonably well and were 103 for 3 at one stage. But after Arsh, who had been going strong, fell while on 29, the rest of the batsmen fell like dominos and the CCA team managed to just 145.
Match 2 (December 23): Gujarat Cricket Academy fielded 4 state-level cricketers. So this was not going to be a cakewalk. And yet, the CCA bowlers successfully restricted the GCA team, bowling them out for just 169, it was up to the batsmen to show their staying power and win this for CCA. But they were not up for the challenge fizzling out in the 37th over for just 85.
Match 3 (December 25): CCA U13 played the Baroda Cricket Association U-14 team in the third game at the IPCL ground on 25th. Once again, Arsh and Immanuel gave their side a good start putting on 68 from 17 overs before the fall of Manney. Arsh's departure was followed by a middle order collapse and the side ended their campaign with 136 runs from 39.1 overs. Five batsmen were lost to run-outs.
Despite that low score, the CCA boys kept up the pressure through tight bowling and fielding. Two dropped catches set the stage for a resurgence by Baroda and they eventually won quite comfortably with 6 wickets in hand in 37.1 overs. Anant from BCA was given man of the match award for his well compiled 52.
Match 4 (December 27): The highlight of the tour for the young CCA Under 13 boys was the fourth match against Nadiad which they won on the back of some good partnerships and a 5-for by Roshan Varadarajan. Good innings by Dave Parikh (29) and Immanuel Amirathraj (24) and resistance by tail-ender Roshan (13) helped the CCA side reach a respectable total of 154. A charged up Roshan Varadarajan then ensured that the match would not slip out of their hands - he bowled an impressive 8 overs in which he took 5 for 13 and the match was won.
Match 5 (December 28): In Surat, the boys met the star-studded Mumbai Ranji side which included Wasim Jaffer. In the first match against Surat on December 28, the boys scored 115 in 38.5 overs which the Surat side reached for the loss of 5 wickets in just 30 overs although CCA's Akhil looked menacing for a brief duration acounting for two Surat middle order wickets.
Match 6 (December 29): In the next match on 29th, Arsh (23) and Dave (22) were in top form and went after the Surat bowlers in a big way putting on 70. The team went from 74 for 2. Once again, the middle order lost the plot and the entire team was bundled down for just 25 additional runs. 100 was not going to be enough of a challenge for the strong Surat side who reached their target without breaking a sweat for the loss of just 2 wickets and with 12 overs to spare.
Match 7 (January 1): In Anand, CCA lost the toss and allowed the opponents to reach 159 for 4. Chasing this total, Arsh once again scored 21 but received no support from the others as his side went from 40 for 2 after 8 overs to 90 all out!
Match 8 (January 2): On Jan 2nd, the final game was played against Motera and CCA had a splendid start with Arsh paving the way with a score of 40 before he was run out. The score spiraled downwards from 102 for 1 to 145 all out. That was not going to be hard for Motera - who reached their target in the 33rd over for 2 wickets.
Akhil Ghirnikar, 11, youngest player on the team is right handed all rounder. Akhil won several man of the match and batting awards in recently concluded U-11 G1G cup tournament. Akhil has solid technique and foot work which will be very useful playing against spinners in India.
Arsh Buch,14 (Captain and left arm medium pace and right hand batsman) was member of US U-15 ICC Americas cup team in 2008 and member of CCAs national U-15 and U-13 champion teams. Arsh, probably the most experienced player in the team was also part of the U-15 team which visited India in year 2007 and has represented western region in junior tournaments. Arsh was also part of Western Region U-19 probables.
Arun Chakravorty, 13 is right arm medium pace bowler. Arun has been very accurate bowler who cuts the bowl both ways. He has been very successful at National tournament, CCAs U-17 Keypoint cup and during Thanks giving tournament against Canada.
Dave Parikh, 13 is a left hand top order batsman who has scored several big scores in major tournaments including National U-13 tournament and Keypoint cup U-17 tournament organized by CCA.
Dushyant Naresh, 13, has moved to India this year after winning National U-13 championship for CCA. Dushyant is right hand medium pace bowler and has represented CCA in various high profile tournaments including u-19 inter league tournament of Western region. Currently Dushyant is being trained in Bangalore, India.
Hersh Solanki, 11 is another top order batsman and utility bowler. Hersh also had several game winning performances during National junior U-11 and U-13 championships and G1G U-13 and U-11 tournaments at CCA. Hersh has also captained several CCA u-11 and U-13 tournaments
Immanuel Amirathraj, 13 is a Wicket keeper and top order right handed batsman. Immanuel recently in U-17 Keypoint cup recorded some very good batting performances. Immanuel was also member of the CCAs national U-13 champion squad.
Mihir Altekar, 12 is a right hand hard hitting batsman. Mihir also represented CCA in various national and international events.
Neil Tagare , 11 is a right handed batsman and leg spinner. Neil has captained CCAs U-11 and U-13 teams for the National Junior tournament. Neil is one of the youngest player to hit six on academys 185 ft. boundary ground.
Parth Patel, 11 is utility right handed batsman. Parth represented CCA U-11 team which won National tournament. Parth is one of the upcoming cricketer at CCA.
Roshan Varadrajan, 13, (Vice Captain, right arm off spinner and top order batsman) was member of the CCAs national championship winner U-13 team. Roshan Represented Western Region in U-15 regional tournament in 2008 and visited India with U-15 team in year 2007.
Sandeep Peddada, 13 is a right hand offspinner. Sandeep is a great team player and will be very useful spinner on the team. Sandeep has been part of CCAs U-13 national champion teams and bowled very well in Keypoint U-17 tournament held by CCA.
Vinit Parikh, 14, is a utility all rounder and good fielder. Vinit also represented CCA in National U-15 tournament during the year 2008 and played 20/20 against US and Canada U-15 team during Thanksgiving weekend.
Coach-Amit Buch, CCA coach and Gujarat Cricket association academy coach
Manager-Satsheel Altekar, parent volunteer of CCA
CCA Tour Catches the Imagination of India's leading Daily - Times of India.