Saturday, December 2, 2017

Mumbai: Groundsman's son makes U16 debut for city against Baroda

What's common between Eknath Solkar, Ankush Jaiswal and now Satyam Chaudhary? They are all sons of groundsmen who went on to represent the city in competitive cricket. Satyam's father Arun tends to the Santacruz Lions Club ground. Yesterday, leg-spinner Satyam made his debut for the Mumbai team in their under-16 Vijay Merchant Trophy match against Baroda in Gujarat.

Satyam Chaudhary
Satyam Chaudhary

Though Satyam Chaudhary did not get an opportunity to bowl on the first day of the ongoing three-day U-16 match between Mumbai and Baroda, he had the satisfaction of watching his team plunder 329 for two. Skipper Pragnesh Kanpillewar was unbeaten on 144 (25x4) while fellow opener Sahil Jadhav missed his century by six runs. They put on 162 for the opening stand. Mushir Khan scored 77 with the help of 11 fours.

Satyam learnt his basics at the Santacruz ground where his father Arun has been serving for the last 26 years. He was spotted and nurtured by former India footballer Dinesh Nair, who handles the affairs of the ground, cricket coach Nilesh Walawalkar and Anil Muzumdar, the father of former Mumbai batting star, Amol. "They [Muzumdar and Walawalkar] encouraged me to bowl leg-spin when I started playing cricket three years ago and Dinesh sir provided me with equipment," Satyam told mid-day over the phone from Baroda yesterday.

Satyam Chaudhary
Satyam Chaudhary

Satyam is an all-rounder off the cricket field. Since practice sessions and matches eat into his daytime, he attends Public Hindi Night HS in Santacruz. The Class IX student also excels in dramatics in his school. Recently, he played freedom fighter Chandrashekhar Azad in a play.

Satyam is also a karate exponent, having won gold medals in the U-52 and U-65 weight category at the state level championships held at Badlapur and Kandivli last year. Despite being only 16, Satyam has represented the famed Shivaji Park Gymkhana in the 'A' Division of the Dr HD Kanga Cricket League. At Shivaji Park, he trained under the watchful eyes of left-arm spin great Padmakar Shivalkar.

Satyam's father Arun at Santacruz Lions Club ground
Satyam's father Arun at Santacruz Lions Club ground

"Shivalkar sir encouraged me to flight the ball while bowling my leg-spin. This helped me claim more wickets," said Satyam. Recently, Satyam emerged the highest wicket-taker (21) for Sunil Gavaskar XI in the Payyade Trophy U-16 selection tournament.

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