Bowled over by Indian stint

Over three weeks in October, national youth player Jeevan Santhanam lived and breathed cricket during a stint at India’s National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru.

The 14-year-old, who plays for Singapore’s Under-16 team and hopes to pursue a career in the sport, said it was truly an eye-opener that showed him what it takes to play at the highest level.

“I would definitely like to go on more trips and attachments like this,” said Jeevan, a Raffles Institution student.

“Going to places like England, Australia or Sri Lanka, teams that play first-class cricket, will show me how much sacrifice and effort I need to put in if I want to make cricket a worthwhile career.”

Jeevan and women’s national captain Shafina Mahesh, 20, were Singapore’s representatives at a training camp in Bengaluru from Oct 8 to 31. The participants were 58 young players from 19 Commonwealth countries such as Namibia, Mozambique, Malaysia, Trinidad and Tobago, and Nigeria.

He told The Sunday Times that the intensity of his game has changed dramatically since and that the stint helped him to understand the sport better.

Jeevan, a left-hander who is 1.77m tall and weighs 68kg, said he enjoyed the training camp as there were familiar faces in the group, mainly players whom he had met at other tournaments.


I could see the intensity and the importance the players brought to the game…. you could see their quality and professionalism.

JEEVAN SANTHANAM, Singapore youth cricket player, on watching the Vijay Hazare Trophy final during his recent training stint in India.

He was also bowled over by the experience of watching the Vijay Hazare Trophy final between Kartanaka and Tamil Nadu. The limited-overs domestic competition features state teams, with five-time winner Tamil Nadu the most-successful team.

The youths were among some 4,000 fans who packed the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium as Kartanaka won by 60 runs, with half of the 22 players having represented India.

“I could see the intensity and the importance the players brought to the game,” said Jeevan.

“Some of the players are national-level players, so you could see their quality and professionalism.”

He also met Indian cricket luminaries such as Rahul Dravid, KL Rahul and Bhuvneshwar Kumar during the camp.

In Singapore, Jeevan trains at the Singapore Cricket Association’s (SCA) academy and is one of the youngest players in the SCA Club League, representing the Singapore Recreation Club.

The young cricketer, who hopes to play for the national team or even play in the professional Twenty20 Indian Premier League, added: “Playing in the open league gives me exposure to different types of players.

“The older players bowl faster but they’re not as fit as the Under-19 or Under-16 players, so they play a different type of cricket, relying on their experience.”

S. Santhanam, who plays for Millennium United Cricket Club in the league, said he has seen a visible transformation in his son since his return from India.

“Three weeks can’t change him 100 per cent but he learnt a lot from the trip, in terms of techniques with bowling,” said the 44-year-old. “I can see changes in his game. His confidence level has also gone up.

“It’s also good that he is sharing what he has learnt from the trip with his (teammates), so he is almost like a bridge to transfer this knowledge to them.”

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