T20 World Cup | It was special: Netravalkar on catching up with Surya, Rohit after more than 10 years

'I got a good offer from one of the top universities, so I thought it was practical to pursue my other love and came here. I'm glad that God has given me another chance to pursue cricket again.'
Last Updated : 13 June 2024, 10:05 IST

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New York: He tormented them as long as the match was on but once the game was done and dusted, India-born American medium pacer Saurabh Netravalkar had a happy reunion with his former Mumbai teammates Rohit Sharma and Suryakumar Yadav.

The software engineer has been nothing short of sensational in the ongoing T20 World Cup and was in his elements on Wednesday too, dismissing both Rohit and Virat Kohli in the group stage match of the T20 World Cup here. But India won by seven wickets in a chase of 111 riding on Suryakumar's unbeaten half century to enter the Super Eight stage.

Netravalkar has been close to Suryakumar as the two played together for Mumbai. He was seen having a long chat with the swashbuckler and India captain Rohit after the match.

"I met them after more than a decade. It was special. We were remembering old times because we played since childhood in U-15, U-17. It felt like we carried on from where we left off. Jokes from those times, casual conversations, and dressing room banter," Netravalkar, who returned with brilliant figures of 2/18 on Wednesday night, revealed in a media interaction after the game.

"I did talk to Rohit Sharma, who was my senior in Mumbai. I've played with him there. I haven't played much with Virat, but he acknowledged our efforts after the game. It's good that they see potential in this team," he said.

The 32-year-old Oracle employee, who also happens to be a competent Ukelele player and a decent singer, represented India in the 2010 Under-19 World Cup before moving to the US on a scholarship to pursue higher studies in the prestigious Cornell University.

His cricketing journey restarted once here and he is now a key player for the US team, which is an amalgamation of talent primarily from India, Pakistan and the West Indies.

At the ongoing World Cup, Netravalkar is quite literally living a dream.

From scripting an incredible Super Over win over Pakistan to dismissing Virat Kohli for a golden duck, the late bloomer said he is still trying to process everything.

"I'm still digesting what is happening right now. The last two games have been very high-profile. I'm glad we have done well as a unit. Always happy being myself, irrespective of the situation," said the soft-spoken player, whose family is based in Mumbai.

"It was about being clear with our plans and executing our processes rather than thinking about who we are facing and what the result would be. I'm glad that first spell worked for me," he added about his effort last night.

There was also assistance from the two-paced drop-in pitch and Netravalkar said it all boiled down to hitting the right areas.

"The pitch plays a crucial role. Bowlers didn't have to do much, just hit the top of the stumps and let the pitch create the variation rather than us doing it. Credit to the coaching staff for giving us this clarity," he said.

Asked how he effected Kohli's dismissal, Netravalkar said: "That's my stock ball. I don't want to give too much away. The first ball, I tried to hit the top of off-stump, as simple as that. I didn't try to do anything special or get a wicket. It was a good ball and seamed nicely." He loves cricket but at the same time, he also enjoys his job and would never give up on it.

"I love my job at Oracle, and I enjoy entering the field and bowling every ball. I'm blessed that I get to do what I love the most. That's how it works." Asked about his journey, he said it's hard to describe it in a few sentences.

"It's been a journey of almost a decade with ups and downs. I had to take a practical call when I wasn't making it big in India due to the strong competition there," he recalled.

"I got a good offer from one of the top universities, so I thought it was practical to pursue my other love and came here. I'm glad that God has given me another chance to pursue cricket again."

Published 13 June 2024, 10:05 IST

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