Mumbai

Giles Shield: SVIS ends 16-year trophy drought

Over the moon: The SVIS cricket team celebrates its win in the Giles Shield final at Brabourne Stadium.

Over the moon: The SVIS cricket team celebrates its win in the Giles Shield final at Brabourne Stadium.   | Photo Credit: Prashant Nakwe

Borivali team clinches title by virtue of first innings lead over Al Barkaat in under-14 cricket tournament

The fate of the Giles Shield (under-14) inter-school cricket tournament final was all but sealed on Wednesday, the second of the three-day match, when Swami Vivekanand International School (SVIS), Borivali, secured the first innings lead. But the SVIS camp contained its emotions till the last ball was bowled at Brabourne Stadium on Thursday.

As the umpires took off the bails, the budding cricketers rushed onto the field to celebrate with their teammates. The final against Al Barkaat MMI English Medium School may have ended in a draw, but it signified something much more to the young cricketers. After all, it took SVIS — a school that has emerged as the breeding ground for elite cricketers over the last decade — 16 long years to win its second Giles Shield title. And the youngsters were excited to be a part of history, after receiving the coveted shield from legendary cricketer Dilip Vengsarkar.

“I don’t know how to describe it, but this has been an amazing journey for all of us. We did not crumble under pressure and backed each other. That was the key to success,” Pranay Kapadia, who led the side in the final, said. Even though his team clinched the title by virtue of its first innings lead over Al Barkaat, it wasn’t a smooth ride for the team. Ahead of the final, SVIS missed out on the services of its captain and offspinner Rudra Tank — who scalped 28 wickets and was adjudged the best bowler of the tournament — as he was picked for Mumbai in the U-14 West Zone League in Pune. “We missed out on a genuine all-rounder in Rudra. It was challenging for sure, but the idea was to ensure that the kids don’t fumble under pressure,” said coach Mahesh Lotlikar.

With Tank missing out, the team elevated Kapadia, who joined the school this year after his family moved to Mumbai from Atlanta. “Pranay was new to the set-up, so was Krish Kanawde [who scored 60 in the second innings] and Aayush Vaity [who scored 95 in the first innings]. I was not sure how they would perform under pressure, but whenever they got an opportunity, they excelled. The plan was to stay in the game, even if things did not go in our favour,” Mr. Lotlikar said.

Strength of character

Taking on Al Barkaat, the defending champion for two seasons in a row, wasn’t easy, but the SVIS players showed the strength of their character. “All of them are just 13 or 14, so you need to give them that confidence. As coaches, that’s what we did and the boys delivered,” Mr. Lotlikar said.

When SVIS won the title the last time in 2004, the team had Siddhesh Lad and Harmeet Singh — both first class cricketers — in its ranks. Dinesh Lad, who has been mentoring the team for two decades now, said, “In junior cricket, that’s what matters. Too much focus on strategies doesn’t really work. You just need to give confidence to the kids and make sure they keep their cool. That was the whole plan.”

Years ago, India’s limited-overs team vice-captain Rohit Sharma was a part of the SVIS team. Following in his footsteps was Shardul Thakur, who moved from Palghar to SVIS in quest of his cricketing ambitions. As the school has ended its trophy drought, the coaches hope this marks a new beginning.

Breeding ground for international players

SVIS boasts alumni like Rohit Sharma

If Dadar’s Shardashram Vidya Mandir enjoys the tag of being ‘Sachin Tendulkar’s school’, the Swami Vivekananda International School (SVIS), Borivali, is equally well-known for its alumnus: India’s cricketing superstar Rohit Sharma.

During his student days, Rohit featured in the Giles Shield and Harris Shield and was one of the most consistent performers, which eventually paved his way to the Mumbai U-17 team and later to the senior national team. But Rohit is just one feather in the cap of this school that has produced cricketers such as Shardul Thakur and Siddhesh Lad — who went on to play cricket at the national and international levels.

Over the years, Lad has played 58 first class games for Mumbai and has also led the team in a couple of Ranji Trophy fixtures. He also played a lone match for Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League in 2019. Harmeet has played 28 first class matches for Mumbai and Tripura.

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Printable version | Feb 19, 2020 5:43:25 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/giles-shield-svis-ends-16-year-trophy-drought/article30655363.ece

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