Coding to cricket: Saurabh Netravalkar excels on all fronts | Cricket News – Times of India


NEW DELHI: If winning at life had a face, it could well be Saurabh Netravalkar. By day, he’s a software engineer at Oracle. In his spare time, he developed his own cricket app. He’s also adept at playing the ukulele and is a decent singer. On top of all that, he’s a game-changing pacer for T20 World Cup debutants, USA.
The 32-year-old Netravalkar, who represented India in the 2010 U-19 World Cup, has shared the dressing room with stars like KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal and even played in the Ranji Trophy for Mumbai.However, his finest moment undoubtedly came on Thursday in Dallas, during the T20 World Cup match against Pakistan.

Saurabh and his unfancied yet immensely talented USA team stunned the cricket world by defeating the formidable and unpredictable Pakistan in a Super Over after the scores were tied at 159 in regulation play.
Defending 19 runs, Saurabh remained composed and restricted Pakistan to 13, securing a historic win for his adopted team.
Pakistan, known for its tendency to falter at crucial moments, found itself at the receiving end of a stunning defeat. The clash between Saurabh and Pakistan’s captain, Babar Azam, was not their first encounter on the international stage. The two had previously faced each other in the 2010 U-19 World Cup, where Babar Azam emerged victorious.

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Not on Thursday though.
“He is always calm. One of his specialities is that he never comes under any kind of pressure,” his father Naresh, who resides in Mumbai with other family members, told PTI in an exclusive interview on Friday.
“He has started doing yoga and that also has made a huge difference as he knows how to wade through any situation with ease,” added Naresh when asked to describe his emotions during the Super Over which he watched with Saurabh’s mother and wife.
From a television screen situated far away, spanning a distance of several thousand kilometres, Naresh observed Saurabh’s demeanor. Despite the daunting task of protecting a mere 19 runs in the Super Over, Saurabh appeared composed and unaffected by the immense pressure he faced.
“Back at home, we were feeling more pressure, but I did not see any of it on his face,” Naresh said.
“He had a fixed plan and he was also putting in a lot of thoughts behind every delivery that he bowled. I can say he was trying to gauge what was going in the batter’s mind and he bowled accordingly. We all felt looking at him that he was very calm,” Naresh added.
“His focus is like that only, he will give his 100 per cent in whatever he takes up, be it studying or be it playing cricket. He is working at Oracle as a full-time employee. But he would always carry his laptop and work online if needed on tours,” he added.
Indeed, spotlight will remain on this Indian player for a while but there was a time when a younger Saurabh took a hard but pragmatic call of leaving the “instability” in cricket and shift to Plan B, which was academics.
“He had quit the game to move to the US. When he completed his engineering, he expressed to me that he would take a maximum gap of two years for cricket and if it does not work out, he would move to the US for his MS (studies),” Naresh recalled.
“I thought, if he has worked so hard, he must get sometime and during that period he played one match in the Ranji Trophy but there was no stability – he would be in and out (of the side).”
So, Saurabh found himself at the prestigious Cornell University for his MS on a scholarship and did not carry anything related to cricket with him. This for a man who had developed a cricket app — CricDeCode — in 2014 to help players analyse their game.
“He did not even carry his kit (to the US) where he got admission in a good university, the Cornell University, which is among the top five universities and in the Ivy League. It is only his destiny that he got his chance (to play cricket),” Naresh said.
He represented his university after being spotted by American College Cricket’s West Indian President Lloyd Jodah. the talent was hard to miss and he was inducted into the American College Cricket Hall of Fame in 2021.
Saurabh even captained the US team into qualification for Division Two.
“Congrats @USACricket on a historic result! Proud of the team and our very own engineering and cricket star,” his company Oracle posted on X on Friday.
A relaxation in residency duration from four to three years also helped Saurabh to play for the USA sooner.
“Look, such has been his luck that the US is hosting the World Cup and as a host country they have qualified for play since there was no chance for them,” Naresh said.
“All this is destiny – that he had to play in a World Cup and for that the tournament had to be held in the US and he also got a chance.
“He will now play against India but as an Indian citizen I want India to win but his performance should be good,” Naresh said, talking about the India-USA contest on June 12.
(With PTI inputs)

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