Thursday, May 19, 2022

Botswana Cricket unleashes young talent

It appears that the future of Botswana Cricket is in good hands, considering the talent that is evident in some of the players.

When the nation’s U-19 team went to play for the World Cup qualifiers recently, a star was born in local batsman Varun Vijayakumar who walked away with the premium title for Player of the Tournament, after playing against some of the continent’s best teams.

His star shined most during the tournament when he won Man of the Match for 4 out of the 7 matches Botswana played.

It was also at this juncture that he was the highest scorer at 383 rounds, and 10 wickets in 7 games.

At only 17 years, Virayakumar had already been advised by his coaches to join the Botswana national cricket squad. The young lad has in the past played for the Botswana U-15 briefly.

Earlier this year, he had also been named best batsman in Mafikeng when he played at school level.
In an exclusive interview with The Sunday Standard, the young lad explained his history with cricket, citing that it dates back to when he was a young boy playing in the streets of India before the big move to Botswana. When he came to Botswana, he started playing for the school team at Thornhill Primary school, and continued with Cricket when he got to Junior School at Maru-a-Pula (MAP) School in 2004-2005 from Form One up to Form Two.

For academic reasons, he had to move from MAP to Legae Academy where he took a break from playing cricket for three years.

“I suspect that the move to Legae was because my parents were worried about my academic work because during my stay at MAP we travelled a lot for cricket and I didn’t have ample time for studying,” said Vijayakumar.

It was only in January 2010, when he went back to MAP that he decided to re-join cricket.
His mother Valsala, who is also his biggest fan, said that she is impressed by her son’s talent because even after three years of no cricket he managed to pick up his game without difficulty and, in the processes, added more medals to his resume.

She said that she and her husband have always seen the talent their son had and had supported him on his road with cricket.

“He has always received medals and awards even in primary school, that is why we are trying to get him a scholarship to study at the University of Cape Town so that we can see how he wants to progress with his cricket considering the fact that UCT will provide him with ample opportunities to further his passion,” said the mother.

Vijayakumar said that he advocates for the Botswana Cricket Association (BCA)’s developmental programme for government schools as that puts Botswana cricket’s future on a promising note, considering the amount of talent that could be unearthed.

Commenting on their team’s performance in Namibia, he said that he believed it was a well-balanced team but their one weakness was that they didn’t have enough time to practise. He believes that if the announcement had been made in time then they could have been able to perform better than they did.

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