T20 World Cup: An emotional moment for me to get Virat Kohli’s wicket, says Saurabh Netravalkar | Cricket News

USA’s Netravalkar, who also dismissed ‘old mate’ Rohit, says he is still trying to process the attention and adulation
NEW YORK: From being a journeyman cricketer in Mumbai to becoming a coder for Oracle to now getting Virat Kohli out for a first-ball duck in a T20 World Cup, it has been a long and winding road for Saurabh Netravalkar.
The left-arm pace bowler was the talking point of the World Cup after his match-winning Super Over against Pakistan.Now, just to prove he is no flash in the pan, Netravalkar has followed up that performance with the wickets of Kohli and “old mate” Rohit Sharma.
It’s a surreal turn of events for the 32-year-old who once nearly gave up on the game. “It is difficult to explain that journey in a couple of sentences. It’s been really very long. Back then, I had to take a practical call when I saw that my career as a cricketer in India wasn’t really taking off because of the talent around. I got a chance to study in a reputed university here and it was a decision to pursue my other love, coding,” Netravalkar said.
Indian journalists, incidentally, chose to skip the media interaction with Man of the Match Arshdeep Singh just to have a conversation with this mild-natured boy who has seen difficult days in his life.
Netravalkar is multi-talented. He plays the ukulele as well quite well, which he says he does for “fun”. “I see YouTube videos and try to get the tune right, it’s just a hobby,” the boy from Mumbai, who now works in Silicon Valley, said.
“I am just happy that I can pursue both my passions. It is all happening very fast and I am in the process of digesting it. These last two games were really high-profile,” he added, as references to his dismissal of Rohit and Kohli. “It was an emotional moment to get Virat’s wicket. I was looking to hit off-stump and it worked out well,” he said.
While Rohit and Suryakumar Yadav know him well and congratulated him on his performance, Virat, too, acknowledged his effort after the game got over.
“I know Surya from my U-15, U-17 days, we were talking about our dressing-room banter. I didn’t know Virat personally but he did congratulate me,” Netravalkar said, exuding humility.
India’s bowling coach Paras Mhambrey, a Mumbai man himself, said the other day that Netravalkar is an “inspiration”. “If there is a seed of hope, keep watering it. The plant will happen, it may take time, but it’s going to happen,” Netravalkar said, getting slightly emotional with all the adulation.
For USA, there is serious business up ahead with Ireland up next. The game is in Fort Lauderdale in Miami and if it gets washed out, the co-hosts will go through.
“We are not thinking about the rain. Ireland are a good side and we have to beat them. If our performances help the sport grow here and become part of the school and college curriculum, we will know we are on the right track.”


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