Pune, Jan 17 (PTI) Vicky Ostwal would have enjoyed cricket as a hobby at the quaint hill station of Lonavala had it not been for coach Mohan Jadhav, who told the young boy's father to shift to Pune city and rest, as they say, is history.
As the bearded left-arm spinner got a five-for to guide India to a comprehensive win against South Africa in the ICC U-19 World Cup opener in the West Indies, it seemed that prayers and sacrifices made by his parents have finally been rewarded.
His coach Mohan Jadhav told PTI on Monday, "This boy hails from Lonavala. Initially, he went to Mumbai to play cricket at the Vengsarkar Academy when he was nine years old. Then he came to the Vengsarkar Academy's branch in Thergoan near here, when he was 10 years old."
"From there his journey started. The reason to shift to Pune was that the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) does not have jurisdiction over Lonavala and it falls under Maharashtra Cricket Association (MACA).
"He used to bowl left-arm spin from the beginning and when he was 10-years-old, I made him play Under 13-Under 14 matches. His bounce, line and length and approach towards the game was very good," added Jadhav, who first saw a spark in young Ostwal.
The 19-year-old Ostwal also played a key part in India's U19 Asia Cup triumph, taking three wickets in the final against Sri Lanka colts in the summit clash.
"Even when he was 16-years-old, or now he is 19, we made him play senior level matches, so that he always got competition and when he played at senior level, it wasn't difficult for him," recalled Jadhav, who resides in Pune.
According to Jadhav, Ostwal played for Maharashtra at the age-group level when he was 13 and then did not look back and performed at every level.
Local train journeys are synonymous to cricketers in Mumbai be it Sachin Tendulkar, Shardul Thakur to young Prithvi Shaw, who have taken the megapolis' 'lifeline' in their formative days to go for practise or training, but it is something that is usually not associated with Maharashtra players.
"His father and he (Vicky) travelled by local train for three to four years. His father took special permission from school to take him early and then travelled from Lonavala to Chinchwad, which took them at least an hour and half. In all they travelled for three hours," explained Jadhav.
Jadhav then felt that relocating to a place near the academy would save his travelling time.
"We then felt that if we reduced his travelling time, his energy would be saved. So, then we requested his family, if they could stay at a place near the academy, it would be better.
"Then his family agreed and came to reside at a place, which was walking distance from the academy and his exertion halted," he added.
"He is a player of the fantastic system of every age group of Verroc Vengsarkar cricket academy," Jadhav"signed off.
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