VIDARBHA’S wicketkeeper-batter Jitesh Sharma, who has been part of the Indian Twenty20 squad on three occasions but has not made his debut yet, is not losing any sleep over it. The talented big-hitter, who earned fame as a finisher for Punjab Kings in the Indian Premier League last season, received his maiden call-up to the national team for the second and third T20Is versus Sri Lanka in January this year when Sanju Samson got injured. The right-hander was retained in the squad for New Zealand T20Is that started in late January. He was also part of the Indian team against Ireland where Ishan Kishan was preferred over him in the playing XI. Now, the explosive batter has been included in the Indian squad for the Hangzhou Asian Games to be held in China.
“I am not sure whether I will make debut for India (in Asian Games) but I have belief in my hard work. I hope my dream of playing for the nation will be fulfilled soon. I have not selected the sport to earn money. It is my dream to represent India and one needs to fight to make one’s dream come true. Players must not think more about future abut should focus on present. They must have faith in work ethics and follow the process,” said Sharma while replying to his felicitation by Nagpur Cricket Academy (NCA) at Kurvey’s School on Sunday morning. Other IPL stars from Vidarbha — Yash Thakur, Atharva Taide and Darshan Nalkande; Shubham Kapse (IPL net bowler), Akshay Wadkar for his contribution in Ranji Trophy wins and selection in Irani and Deodhar Trophy; Yash Rathod, Harsh Dubey, Md Faiz and Aditya Thakre for being part of India U-19 teams; Mandar Mahalle for being captain of U-16 all India champion team of Vidarbha and Yash Kadam for winning all India U-19 championship, were honoured on the occasion.
Wadkar was all praise for the facilities offered at the NCA saying, it was second only to that offered by Vidarbha Cricket Association. NCA Director Madhav Bakre, who informed the gathering that the academy was first in Nagpur to start indoor facilities and have various types of turfs, promised to go extra mile for benefit of the players. Secretary of Kurvey’s School Dr Utpala Kane was chief guest of the function and presented trophies to the players. Former president of the school Subhash Kubde along with Kaustubh Kubde were also present from the management side. Bakre, Ashutosh Pathak and Mohan Sambre shared the dais. Dr Prashant Rathi conducted the proceedings while Ravindra Kulkarni proposed a vote of thanks.