Cricket: International experience for young players

By Cameron Leslie

Having an Indian cricket team visit Whangarei and play two games has given our young cricketers a unique experience, says Northland Cricket CEO Gary Bell.

When the invitation came from the Cobham Cricket Club to Northland Cricket, Bell had no problems allowing Northland's premier ground, the Cobham Oval, to host the Garware Club House team from Mumbai.

"For the younger guys to get a game, against a sort of international team, it's good experience," said Bell.

Bell singled out players like young Boys' High cricketer Chamodh Peiris as one who would have taken a lot from the match.

"For him to get some almost international experience, and to play alongside Northland first XI players and see how they play the game ... who knows what's going on in his head."

The Garware Club House team isn't just any old team. They have a rich history which includes their club president being both a minister with the Indian government and a former president of the International Cricket Council.

Garware tour director, and vice-captain, Mohit Chaturvedi said Whangarei stood out because this year's annual tour revolved around Auckland.

"We fell in love with the Cobham Oval when we saw it online," said Chaturvedi. "Specifically our brief was that we wanted to play at the best facilities, purely to get the best teams. We want to enhance our cricketing experience of our boys by going on tours to different countries to get used to the conditions."

Until heading north, Garware had enjoyed a successful tour after winning two of their three matches in Auckland before Northland cricketers set out to change that.

Garware lost both matches on the weekend, one a Twenty20 match against a number of past Northland cricketing greats and the other against a Northland Invitation XI.

In Sunday's Twenty20, Garware were restricted to 98 after being set 103 for victory, with Cobham Cricket Club captain Barry Cooper chipping in with a handy 23.

Monday's 40 over exchange was dominated by Hyde's 135, which came from 60 scoring shots, during the Northland Invitational XI innings of 281.

In reply, Garware could only manage 140 with Brad Kneebone the pick of the bowlers in taking 4 for 13. Kneebone was complemented well by Joey O'Sullivan, taking 2 for 19 after earlier adding 31 with the bat.

Garware now head back to Auckland for two more matches and a meet and greet with the Auckland Cricket team before some holiday time in Queenstown.

- Northern Advocate

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