Former India cricketer Gautam Gambhir and Funngage.com on Tuesday bid adieu to 15 budding cricketers who will be travelling to Australia as part of a five-year cricket scholarship programme. Gambhir is the inspirational partner at Funngage.com.
The young cricketers will be going to the Guildford Grammar School in Perth where they will spend 21 days training under former South Africa cricketer HD Ackerman, who is the director of coaching at the school.
There were 33 youngsters in total out of which 15 have qualified for overseas training along with a five-year Cricket Development Program under India’s first cricket scholarship – FG PowerPlayer.
All the cricketers will receive fully paid cricket equipments, fully paid medical support along with sports physiotherapy sessions at Funngage’s wellness partner and hospitals across India, fully paid match fees for cricket matches and tournaments across India, fully paid cricket camps by experts for continued exposure and training and fully paid for oversees training (for topmost 15) in Perth.
The benefits of the scholarship also includes visa fee, return airfare, accommodation, trainings, nutrition sessions, injury management, and matches with local clubs etc.
Sachin NS – Spinner, 21, Bangalore, Karnataka
Son of a farmer, Sachin NS hails from an area 250 km away from Bangalore. Since 14, when he first held a leather ball, he has been living mostly off his own and now, in the Chinnaswamy Stadium dormitory. On days, he would manage at most one meal a day but hasn’t skipped practice. At Chinnaswamy Stadium nets, he has bowled to the legends of the game, helping them get better at their game – Tendulkar, Dhoni, Kohli, Raydu and many more, but cherishes bowling out Yuvraj the most. Now a FG PowerPlayer, he says his 5-year Cricket Scholarship will help him pursue his only choice in life – playing cricket for India.
Tanveer Ahmad – All-rounder, 23, Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir
A 23-year old cricketer from J&K, lack of cricketing infrastructure brought Tanveer Ahmad to Delhi. Once working in a MNC, he would somehow manage his working hours with regular cricket practice and M. Tech classes. Tanveer has always been supported by his family, especially, his father. Coming from a state most often infamous for violence, Tanveer says that cricket will help him become a better example of Jammu & Kashmir for India.
Gulfaam Saleh – Right hand Batsman, 23, Vizag, Andhra Pradesh
From the coastal town of Vizag, Gulfaam Saleh is one talent who believes in his game more than destiny does. When he started playing at the age of 7, little did he know that an ailment would keep him out of ground for the next 8 years. When doctors said he would barely walk, he took his guards again at 15. Since then, till now, 23-year old Gulfaam has earned accolades in State Board matches. He says, at this age this was his last chance to try his talent. FG PowerPlayer happened just at the right time to Gulfaam Saleh.
Amar Soni – Leg-spinner, 23, Jaipur, Rajasthan
The distance to the nearest Academy from his home is 50km. Amar Soni, from Jaipur, Rajasthan says Shane Warne is his idol as tries to draw a lot of inspiration from the Legend’s bowling. A devotee of Lord Krishna, Amar’s father is an accountant in a local temple. His friends helped him with money when needed for his self-esteem didn’t let him ask much from his father. This FG PowerPlayer with 5-year of Cricket Scholarship wishes to make his father one day, by playing for India.
Anuj Chapraana – Right-arm fast bowler, 23, Meerut, U.P
Right-arm fast bowler Anuj Chaprana hails from a farmer family of Meerut. After leaving home at an early age of 11, Anuj had one dream in his eyes – cricket. Working as a night security guard in Chandigarh, mornings were always reserved for cricket. His mother supports him for the game. On his win of India’s First Cricket Scholarship, FG PowerPlayer Anuj Chaprana says, let’s now take one goal at a time and let this be my trip to Australia.