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This Apeejay student wants to emulate Rohit ‘The Hitman’ Sharma and make India proud

Apeejay Svran Global student Mohammed Saif is making waves with his all-round cricket abilities

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Cutting his teeth in the rough and tumble of competitive cricket under the tutelage of former India wicketkeeper Vijay Yadav, best remembered for his brilliant glovesmanship and attacking batting, this promising cricketer is making his alma mater proud. Mohammad Saif, a student of Apeejay Svran Global School, Faridabad, excelled at the recently held Corporate Mix T – 20 tournament where he was adjudged Man of the Match.

In a wide-ranging interview, Mohammed Saif, 16, shares his dream of playing for the country, the Indian and international crickets who inspire him and how his school has backed his passion to the hilt. Edited excerpts:

When did you begin playing cricket?
I began playing cricket six years ago, at the age of 10. Initially, my coach was Pramod Kumar Paul, who has played under 16 for Haryana. Subsequently, I got an opportunity to train at the Vijay Yadav Residential Cricket Academy under somebody who has represented the country. Mr Vijay Yadav is a really experienced coach and he advises me to stick to my natural game, regardless of the level that I am playing.

At what level have you played the Gentleman’s Game and what is your specialisation?

I have represented my school as well as the Faridabad district in the nationals and also represented Haryana at the under-14 and under 16 level. I am an all-rounder and can bat as well as bowl.

Which current players in India or in international cricket inspire you and why?

In international all-rounders I want to bowl like England star Jofra Archer. He has a lot of pace and control while bowling. When it comes to batting, I am inspired by Rohit Sharma, who has recently taken over as the captain of the Indian Test cricket team. I like Rohit the ‘Hitman’ Sharma because I believe my game is a lot like his. Like him, I evaluate the situation of the match and adapt accordingly. I may begin gradually but soon catch up with the run rate required.

You were recently awarded man-of-the-match for your all-round performance in a tournament. Please recall that special moment.

This was at an open age cricket tournament called Corporate Mix T– 20, held at the Jagbir Dagar Merlena Ground in Sector 75, Ballabhgarh, Haryana.  During the tournament, playing for the 80 Legends team, I took three wickets in four overs and scored 57 runs in 28 balls, batting at the number four position. I also got to rub shoulders with and learn from seasoned players such as Praveen Thapar and Surender Yadav who have played at the highest level in domestic cricket in the Ranji Trophy. Apart from that, the rival team included one player who has represented India at the under-16 level.

What are your future plans?

Like any other sportsman, my proudest achievement will come when I represent the country and wear the India jersey. To begin with I want to make my mark in the 50-over format. But ultimately, the highest level of cricket is in the Test arena.

How is Apeejay Svran Global School helping you pursue your sporting dreams?

The school has been very supportive throughout my cricket journey. My principal Deepika Arora Ma’am has always been very helpful and encourages me to give my best on the field and off it. My teachers also travel the extra yard with additional lessons in case I have to miss any classes owing to a match. 

Aasheesh Sharma is a seasoned journalist with an experience of more than 25 years spread over newspapers, news agencies, magazines and television. He has worked in leadership positions in media groups such as Hindustan Times, India Today, Times of India, NDTV, UNI and IANS. He is a published author and his essay on the longest train journey in India was included in an anthology of writings on the railways, brought out by Rupa Publications. As the Editor of Apeejay Newsroom, he is responsible for coverage of the latest news and developments in the Apeejay institutions. He can be reached at [email protected] He tweets @Aasheesh74

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