Chaos of balls, laughter and shouting
Posted in England Performance Programme
As an international cricketer we are subject to numerous privileges, with one of those being the opportunity to experience various cultures on our travels.
After three weeks of training at the DY Patil facilities in Mumbai with the England Performance Programme, we moved to Pune to finish the programme with a week of skills and strength training.
We took the opportunity to visit the Savitri Bai Phule English Medium School, based in the centre of Pune, to interact with children of various ages.
The school is funded by the Akanksha Foundation, which is who we have links with and raise money for during our ECB programmes.
Following a tour of a few classrooms and facilities when we arrived, we got to meet two groups of children: boys and girls, aged between 7-11 and 12-15.
After the initial tentative greetings everyone seemed to warm to the situation and we were even subject to a casual bit of banter from a few of the kids (probably because they were the unfortunate few who were introduced to Stuart Meaker, and had to hear about his away-swingers and being game ready).
There were a few suggestions of what activities we could have done to interact with the kids. But when in Rome do as the Romans do, and so we played two games of softball cricket.
As professional cricketers we were quietly confident in our own courtyard cricket abilities, but we were shown a thing or two by these young guns. Technique was thrown out the window as flair and laughter took over.
What started as two well-organised games turned into mass chaos of balls, laughter and shouting in the schools courtyard. The way that the Indian children played their cricket for an hour or so really gave us an insight into their lives.
They played to enjoy themselves, to have fun, to socialise, to share - but most importantly, all they cared about was the couple of hours that they could engross themselves in with apparent strangers, not worrying about the past or future.