VISAKHAPATNAM: Another Visakhapatnam boy Bodapati Sumanth has made it to the Indian under-19 cricket team.
He follows Y. Venugopala Rao, who is in the India ODI squad, his younger brother Y. Gnaneswara Rao, who led India in the under-19 World Cup and Amit Pathak, the first Andhra player to represent India in the u-19 category many seasons ago.
He is the latest from the city which for the past many years has become the hub of cricketing activity in Andhra region, to earn the honour of representing the country.
An unbeaten 213 he scored against Jharkhand in a league match of the all-India under-19 tournament last season propelled him into the u-19 national team that will tour England from next month.
He started playing cricket in a serious way at the age of 12, after picking up the game from his elder brother Sudhir Raj.
His brother, also a good player, preferred to focus on academics and is now doing B.Tech in IIT, Chennai
Sumanth's father, Appa Rao, a branch manger with a real estate firm in the city and his wife, Lovaratnam, a teacher in the Port Primary School, were extremely happy to learn about Sumanth's selection. Sumanth had appeared for the district under-12 selections when he was studying in Timpany School, China Gantyada. He got selected and within a year, in 2001, played for Andhra under-14 team and made it to the Indian under-15 team for Asia Cup held in Sri Lanka next year.
Sumanth with a string of impressive scores proved his mettle in the u-14, u-15 and u-19 tournaments.
He was also bowling medium pace in the under-12 and under-14 age group matches but decided to concentrare on batting as he progressed. Now he is two-down batsman in the team.
Initially coached by Visakhapatnam Steel Plant's D.R. Srinivas he is now under the watchful eyes of J. Krishna Rao.
He also underwent coaching at the National Cricket Academy (Bangalore) twice.
Dravid his role model
With Indian captain Rahul Dravid as his role model, Sumanth's goal is to play for the Indian seniors.
Visakhapatnam District Cricket Association presented a cheque for Rs. 10,000 to Sumanth in appreciation of his selection to the Indian u-19 team. District Collector and president of VDCA Anil Kumar Singhal handed over the cheque to Sumanth on Sunday.