Mumbai, May 21 (IANS): Winning the third edition of the Mumbai leg of the MI Junior Inter-School cricket tournament was not only a memorable moment for players from Swami Vivekanand, Borivali (Boys' U-14 Team), Shardashram Vidyamandir (Girls' U-15 Team) and Anjuman Islam, CST (Boys' U16 Team).
The victory also earned them a chance to attend a special camp conducted by former India coach John Wright and former India women's team member Jhulan Goswami.
Continuing the practice from the previous years, where the winners of MI Juniors get the chance to attend an exclusive coaching clinic by members of the MI coaching team. This season's winners attended a camp conducted by John Wright, former chief coach of the Indian national team and Mumbai Indians, and Jhulan Goswami, team mentor and bowling coach for the women's team of Mumbai Indians, who passed on their techniques and knowledge to the winners.
Post the session, Jhulan Goswami said, "It was a lot of fun. They are so intelligent. They know what to do. When I asked certain questions, they gave spontaneous responses. I was really impressed. When I was young, I was not that prompt. They understand their games really well and it is a credit to their respective coaches back home. It is creditable that Mumbai Indians are taking such initiatives for young boys and girls."
On the occasion, John Wright remembered his time as India's chief coach and spoke about how it is vital for youngsters to get opportunities like MI Junior in age group cricket.
"It is really important that everyone gets the opportunity to play games of cricket in an organized way. A lot of the boys that I coached came through very hard pathways. Some of them had to fight very hard to just get a game of cricket. It is vital that youngsters get to play as much as possible," Wright was quoted as saying in a media release.
It took him back to his time as a schoolboy cricketer in New Zealand.
"I have always enjoyed and valued working with young cricketers of all ages. We have all experienced that while growing up. It was a long time ago but you still have memories as a 12 or 14-year-old that loved the game. At that age, you play whenever and wherever you can and have dreams of representing your country. At this age, they also dream of playing the IPL. It was great to see their shining eyes and bright smiles. We just encouraged children to have big dreams, enjoy themselves and have fun," he said.
The talent on the show impressed both Wright and Goswami.
"It was very enjoyable. The kids were very enthusiastic. There were various skill levels. Some of them were of a very high standard. We tried to make it enjoyable for them. They were very enthusiastic and we emphasized a lot on the fielding. It is fielding that brings a team together," Wright said.
The kids underwent a set of training and fielding drills while also getting to interact with the two respected coaches.
The Third edition of MI Junior was at various venues in Mumbai, Pune & Nagpur and had the participation of over 400 teams with close to 3500 boys and girls participating across three age groups Boys U14, Girls U15 and Boys U16.
Notably, the tournament had about 16 women scorers who were accredited with the cricket associations, officiating across the matches in Mumbai, apart from that around 63 female physios were on the ground to look after the players and guide them through the injuries.
MI Junior is an initiative conceptualised by Mumbai Indians owner Mrs. Nita Ambani, who has been the flag bearer of promoting sports as part of the educational curriculum and has been spearheading various grassroots sports initiatives through Reliance Foundation including ESA (Education and Sports for All).