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Ex-India U-19 player Saurabh Netravalkar to lead US national cricket team

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He had given up cricket to focus on academics after realizing that the sport did not hold a bright future for him. But Saurabh Netravalkar will captain the US national cricket team at the ICC World Cricket League Division 3, which is mainly a qualifying tournament for the 2023 ODI World Cup.

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Netravalkar, 27, had represented India at the 2010 U-19 World Cup but quit the game to study Computer Science at Cornell University. But now will lead a new country taking its first steps into the cricketing world.

He was India’s new ball bowler at the U-19 World Cup in 2010 but played just one Ranji Trophy game for Mumbai. “I gave two years full time to cricket but felt I wasn’t making it to the next level,” the medium pacer formerly of Mumbai told Times of India on Sunday.

But life came a full circle for Netravalkar and cricket which he had left behind in India, found its way into his life once again only this time it was for a greater cause. He completed his education in Cornell, while also playing few knocks along the way.

Then it was after joining Oracle as a software engineer that Netravalkar really chased his passion, once his childhood dream. He tells the daily, “On Friday, I used to leave a little early from office with a fellow player and drive to LA. We would play a 50-over game in LA on Saturday. Then we would drive back in the night and play a 50-over game in San Francisco on Sunday. It was back to work on Monday. I put in a lot of effort which was noticed by the selectors. I got picked this January when I became eligible for national selection.”

He took two wickets at the U-19 World Cup and his scalps include England skipper Joe Root and former Pakistan opener Ahmed Shehzad.

The team led by Netravalkar will travel to Oman next week to play the Division 3 matches.

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