Cricket News Sports

Saurabh Netravalkar, techie by day, cricketer by evening: Hero of Team US, from Mumbai | Cricket News

When the United States unexpectedly advanced into the Super Eight stage of the T20 cricket World Cup, Saurabh Netravalkar informed his manager at software major Oracle that he won’t be returning to work for another week.

As vital as he is to Oracle, where he handles databases of companies and even holds a patent for a search innovation, Netravalkar is indispensable to Team USA as it co-hosts its first major international cricket tournament.

The Mumbai-born left-arm seamer has been one of the standout players in the USA line-up that got the better of Pakistan — with him bowling the decisive Super Over — and gave India a run for their money with the wickets of Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma to secure at least three more games against the elite sides in the Caribbean.

Saurabh Netravalkar celebrates after a wicket during the match against Pakistan. (AP)

“After we qualified (for the Super Eight), I informed my office that I will be on leave for some more time. Now my whole office is watching the game, they all have been very supportive,” Netravalkar told The Indian Express.

The technology that Netravalkar worked on is called ‘wildcard searching’. It gets faster search results by auto-guessing or auto-completing the text after the first letters or words are typed.

“We store data of companies and ensure search engines work fast,” says Netravalkar, adding that he has since applied for another patent.

“Luckily, there hasn’t been any SOS when I am playing, as there have been one or two instances in the past when I got a call. Otherwise, we have a team that manages everything. And it’s World Cup time, so no one has bothered me. They all know what I’m up to.”

As he enjoys his new-found popularity for his exploits on the cricket field — a typical programmer, he cites numbers: Instagram followers up 200 per cent, memes increased by 80 per cent — there’s also admiration for how he has balanced the two facets of his life and excelled at both.

“Every project has a deadline so there is pressure… There have been instances when I have worked at night. I know my cricket schedule, so I plan accordingly with my manager. I finished my work before I joined the USA for the World Cup,” the techie says.

United States’ Saurabh Netralvakar reacts after bowling a delivery during the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup cricket match between United States and India at the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium in Westbury, New York. (AP)

It’s a far cry from his early days, when his cricketing talent and potential earned him a spot in the India U-19 team for the 2010 age-group World Cup. He remembers how his mother or father would accompany him on a crowded Mumbai local to Churchgate to play in tournaments.

Life takes many turns

Brilliant at studies as well as cricket, Netravalkar had asked his parents to give him a couple of years to make a mark in elite cricket, failing which he would focus on his other skills.

When he couldn’t make it to the Mumbai Ranji Trophy squad due to the presence of the likes of Zaheer Khan, Ajit Agarkar, Aavishkar Salvi and Dhawal Kulkarni, Netravalkar realised he had to move on. But even that wasn’t easy.

“After the under-19 World Cup, I was offered a job at BPCL where they asked me to undergo various tests. One of them was for the eyes where they show various colours on a screen and we need to identify them. They later told me that I had colour blindness,” he says.

Netravalkar then decided to pursue his Master’s in the US after getting a scholarship in 2016.

But even there, the cricket bug didn’t leave him.

Nosthush Kenjige (left) celebrates with Saurabh Netravalkar during the T20 World Cup match against Pakistan. (PTI)

Netravalkar says he makes time to pursue his passion. He uses the world-class gym at his workplace for three days a week and during breaks, sometimes goes to a nearby indoor ground for practice sessions.

“I don’t go for evening hangouts, I go for practice,” says the soft-spoken programmer. “Club matches are played on weekends, so many times, I have taken a flight after office on Friday, flown cities, played and resumed office on Monday. My work is going fine and my company has seen the genuine effort I have put in, cricket is not coming in the way of my work. So the office has been very helpful.”

With the US witnessing many expats coming in to study or make a living, Netravalkar hopes that like him they too find a balance between their dream and their work.

“It would be great if I inspire others to take up the challenge,” he says.

Source link

Spread the love


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *