Bombay: As the men in blue race to win the ICC Cricket World Cup title for the third time, few know that a World Cup trophy has ever been won by a handful of children in the Lord’s Cricket Ground for the last time. month. From Kapil Dev lifting the World Cup trophy in 1983 to Sourav Ganguly unfurling his jersey in the air after winning the NatWest trophy in 2002, the Lord’s Balcony saw it all and bore witness to various heroic deeds of many Indians at several events cricket tournaments. Interestingly, the country of cricket has now seen eight Indian children lift the Street Child Cricket World Cup (SCCWC) trophy by beating England on their home turf.
Nine international teams – England, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Mauritius, Tanzania, Democratic Republic of Congo and India, participated in the world championship. The gender-neutral cricket tournament was a body – a UK-based organization. Mumbai-based NGO Magic Bus was associated with the event and provided sponsorship and logistical support to the players. Among all the members of the winning team are three children from the slums of Cheeta Camp, Trombay (Mankhurd) who became heroes after their triumph with bat and ball. But life was not always the same for them.
“Being girls, we weren’t allowed to play in the ground,” says 15-year-old Bhavani Mayavan. “But now people are leaving the field to give us room to play,” she said. Bhavani represented the team as a part-time wicket keeper and bowler. In the final, she took two crucial wickets which then turned the game in favor of India. An avid MS Dhoni fan, Bhavani only learned cricket by watching his brother play. Now she aspires to become a sportswoman and become a trailblazer in the community because she believes her success can inspire other girls to come out of their homes and empower them.
Fourteen-year-old Shama Siddiqui, who was the extra wicket keeper and the team’s batsman, shares the same sentiments. “In our community, girls are not allowed to have ambitions, but now that we have accomplished something, we want our actions to inspire others,” she says. Shama is eager to finish her studies as she aspires to become a doctor so that she can provide for her ailing father who is a taxi driver. She also plans to help patients who have financial difficulties after graduation to become a medical expert. Mohd. Irfan is the reserved of the lot. Despite being the all-rounder on the bowling team, cricket is just a hobby for the 15-year-old as he wants to become an artist once he grows up, while his father wants him to become a banker and live a decent life. . Irfan loves to draw and has received several awards in art competitions.
“I want to make my father’s dream come true by earning a decent living and also achieving my aspirations,” he said shyly. Although the children did not receive any formal training, it was only by watching online tutorials of the game that they honed their skills. “Tanzania were the toughest opponent because they were stronger and were tactful in their approach,” Shama said. But in the middle of the cricket course, the kids felt the tour was an opportunity for personal growth. “We learned some serious life lessons from the whole trip like teamwork and persistence,” Irfan said. The Indian team lost to England in the qualifying rounds, but later beat them in the final. “We were taught not to be overconfident but to be patient,” Bhavani said. Former Indian skipper Sourav Ganguly was the tournament’s goodwill ambassador who congratulated the team by sending a message following their triumph.
– Pratip Acharya
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Posted on: Monday June 24, 2019 11:10 am IST