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ICC Under-19 World Cup: How Andhra cricket adopted humble Shaik Rasheed | Cricket News – Times of India


MSK Prasad, former India wicket-keeper and ex-chief national selector, was a very proud man for two reasons on Thursday. First, Shaik Rasheed, a native of his hometown Guntur in Andhra Pradesh, had played a crucial 94-run knock against Australia to help India reach the U-19 World Cup final. Second, Rasheed is a product of Andhra’s robust academy structure, which Prasad himself built as the state association’s director of cricket operations.
The three academies with lodging facilities were meant to tap the talent in the heartland of the state. Rasheed is the face of the success of the structure, which is aimed at unearthing cricketing talent among less-privileged kids.
“A lot of credit should go to his father Balisha. Rasheed came from a very humble background. I was told his father worked in a small pesticide shop. But he never stopped his son from dreaming big. Best part about people like Balisha is that they have a ‘nothing-to-lose’ attitude towards life,” Prasad told TOI on Thursday.
Balisha struggles to communicate in any language other than Telugu. “Mera beta bahut chhote se achcha khelta. Hyderabad mein thoda khela. Financially, hum difficulty se manage karta. Abhi main SBI loans ke liye kaam karta (my son was good at cricket from a very young age. He played in Hyderabad. We barely man-aged to make ends meet. Now I work for SBI loans department),” Balisha said in broken Hindi over phone. But the jubilance in his speech couldn’t be missed.

ICC Under-19 World Cup 2022

“Andhra academy in Mangalgiri was a huge help and relief for us. Coach Krishna Rao sir was very helpful,” was all Balisha could say. Balisha had gone to Hyderabad in search of livelihood. Rasheed was yet to turn 10 but was doing well in inter-district tournaments. This is where he was selected for the Andhra Cricket Association’s academy when he was nine. He was given hostel accommodation, clothing, food and education. The academy paid for the school as well.
“The association adopted him. The academies adopted 30-35 cricketers like Rasheed. The academy spent Rs 15000 per student every month. His hunger for runs and his commitment towards the game stood out. He would blindly follow what he was told,” Prasad said.
“He was doing so well at the state level that you could make out the difference.
“His life lessons have taught him to understand what the situation demands. We picked him on cricketing potential. He was an okay student,” Rao said.
The academy also arranged for a trip to the UK for Rasheed when he was 14. The academy tied up with Dr Sameer Pathak and ar-ranged for exposure trips under a programme called ‘Cricket Beyond Boundaries’ for two-three kids every year.
“Rasheed went for exposure. He travelled all by himself, went to school in the UK for two months and learnt cricket. It was a life exposure for him. He overcame language barriers. That made a difference in him. The situation makes you a leader and Rasheed became one through his journey. He reads the game very well,” Rao added.
Rasheed is seen as one of the biggest stars to come out from Andhra cricket. He is on a mission to fulfill his father’s dreams. But he is also an example of what can be achieved if authorities invest heavily in the system.





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