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Cricket: Black Caps prove a hit with Indian kids

Tim Southee and Trent Boult with local children. Photo / Supplied
Tim Southee and Trent Boult with local children. Photo / Supplied

Regardless of whether the New Zealand cricketers win their first one-day international series in India overnight, the side won the hearts of children from the Korukonda community.

Four boys and two girls from the impoverished area were selected to travel by train to see the Black Caps' final training session and the deciding match in Visakhapatnam on India's east coast.

One means of survival for the community is goat farming. A couple of recent additions to the herd were named 'Tim Southee' and 'Trent Boult' as a mark of respect for allowing the kids to spend a day with the team.

New Zealand donations to World Vision have helped sponsor more than 2800 Korukonda children over the last three years by providing clean water, health care and economic development through farming education and grants.

Several of the children have lost their parents to the likes of AIDS and prison.

New Zealand coach Mike Hesson said the experience gave his side perspective after an arduous tour.

"All of us travel to different parts of the world and realise how fortunate we are, so to do a small thing like spend a day with people who have been supported by other New Zealanders, and hopefully have a positive influence, is special.

"We often go from airport to hotels to practices in armoured cars and buses. If you wish to keep your curtains closed you won't get a perspective on life here. I like to think our guys open the blinds, look around themselves and soak up the beauty of India. It's a lovely spot, we're fortunate to be playing cricket in this country.

"The guys and girls turned up with huge smiles to watch us practice."

World Vision has also presented the Korukonda community with cricket bats and equipment to schools. The charity works with 15,000 households in a community consisting of 23 villages.

"In the sub-continent cricket has a powerful ability to engage and educate vulnerable children," said Simon Day, World Vision's head of external affairs in New Zealand.

"This [equipment] is more than just for their enjoyment. It teaches children the values of teamwork, practice, and concentration.

"In Bangladesh, for example, we're hoping to use a cricket academy to remove children from child labour, and prevent it in the future. We want those children to then become advocates in their community against the practice."

Heading into tonight's match, no New Zealand side have won an ODI series in India in four attempts. The visitors suffered a 4-0 defeat in 1988-89; the 1995 and 1999 series were lost 3-2; and the 2010 team went down 5-0.

- NZ Herald

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