City-born Kiwi cricketer set to ‘fly high'

Tharun Nethula (28) has been picked to represent New Zealand for the ODI series against Zimbabwe

From St. John's Coaching Foundation in Secunderabad to the New Zealand national cricket squad! It has been a fairy-tale journey for local boy Tharun Nethula. When, this 28-year-old leg-spinner was picked to represent New Zealand a couple of days ago for the one-day series against Zimbabwe, it was a rare distinction.

Viru, VVS fan

“I grew up admiring the great V.V.S. Laxman train at St. John's. He is my favourite batsman along with Virender Sehwag,” said Tharun in a chat from New Zealand. Not surprisingly, one of the first to congratulate on his selection as John Manoj, Director of St. John's CCF (now in New Zealand) and former Hyderabad Ranji star V. Manohar (now a qualified coach there).

‘Exciting feeling'

“It is an exciting feeling to play for New Zealand. Honestly, I never really dreamt of reaching this stage when I started off playing the game here,” says a thrilled Tharun, an alumnus of St. Andrews School (SAS).

“Only a couple of seasons ago, I was left wondering about my cricketing future. It almost came to a stage where I had to choose between cricket and any other profession in life. Things were not really going the way I wanted. Then, I decided to give it a strong push and I am really happy that I could make thus far thanks to my stint with Auckland and now with Central Districts,” said Tharun.

“I am grateful to Central Districts for the huge opportunity they gave me,” he said. “Playing cricket is so different here compared to Hyderabad or in India in general. I am really enjoying every moment of it now,” he said after shifting base to New Zealand when he was 11 with his parents -- Sainath Nethula and Dr. N. Pramila.

“It's a huge challenge to come up the circuit through the age group grade in New Zealand. It is really tough even for my family. But, importantly, I kept playing the game,” said Tharun.

“I was in a way surprised to be picked for one-day squad. But again, I am determined to make a mark for myself as my bigger dream now is to get selected for the forthcoming tours to West Indies, South Africa and India,” he says.

“Getting selected for the New Zealand team is one challenge and staying there is another huge one. I hope to keep playing well consistently to retain my place,” he said.

“Playing against India in India will be a real high for me. Hopefully, I can make it. I am aware I have to really work hard to realise that big dream,” said Tharun before signing off to join the training session with the New Zealand cricket team.

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Printable version | Apr 10, 2020 9:06:48 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/cityborn-kiwi-cricketer-set-to-fly-high/article2868532.ece

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