HRISHIKESH PURANIK: “So basically Aayush Ambekar joined Cricket Explained Academy when he was 9. I saw him for a couple of weeks and soon realised he had something special in him as he was catching everything with those small hands with an excellent catching technique, had eyes on the ball all the time and as I have learnt sports psychology level 1, the greatest players have eyes on the ball till the end hence we feel they’ve little extra time to do everything that they do. I used to give throw downs to all students in the academy and when I saw him bat, the bat came down exactly the way we all like straight and the impact was so pleasing to the eye especially at that age with high elbow. I started throwing more balls at him not just to get him more ready but I was enjoying what I was seeing.
Aayush has faced side arm bowling when he was only 11 that too very quick. Zulfiqar Parkar (Former Mumbai Wicketkeeper) spotted him in one of the U12 matches and said that this kid is special and has all the ingredients to play at the highest level. I started taking him for matches above his age group, even children who were 5-6 years elder to him just so that he becomes fearless in early age. Even if he didn’t make big scores or took plenty wickets, he always competed. Playing competitive age group matches, he started scoring runs very consistently at U12, U14 levels.
Not because his parents come from a modest background but I genuinely felt that he deserves more than he is getting and also there won’t be any burden on his parents as cricket is an expensive game. I didn’t want him to feel that he might have to give up on his dream at any time. He was a fast bowler and one fine day I saw him bowl leg spin and it was very impressive. It wasn’t just a bowler bowling floaters, it was proper leg spin. When I told him to bowl leg spin, he got a little afraid as in many other cases I had changed fast bowlers to spinners looking at the future of fast bowlers in Mumbai and also how physically exhausting it could be.
And in our Cricket Explained Academy we are focussing more on making all-rounders so batters who can bowl exceedingly well can definitely get selected if they achieve that standard. Aayush was little hesitant at the start but as he bowled more and more, he started getting wickets in the nets of seniors and also in matches. He went for U16 selection and he was picked as a top order batter and his centre coach called me and said he is a great asset to any team. Before the MCA centre matches he had scored almost 300 runs in one of the U16 tournament we played at Azad Maidan in a span of 4 days. All the time we keep talking about consistency. He does both 100% batting and bowling which is rare. We made some minor changes to his bowling day before his MCA centre game and he got 6 wickets in the match.
Aayush’s name was recommended by his centre coach to MCA for Payyade trophy. Aayush comes from a humble background, his mother runs a tiffin service from home, his father has a decent job and I look after his cricket. They literally say we at Cricket Explained Academy gave birth to him but he is my child. Don’t know what’s in store but he himself is a down to earth kid, always willing to work hard and from a very young age has understood what it takes to become a professional cricketer in Mumbai.”
Good things happen to those who do good & as goes with Hrishikesh along with his disciple Aayush, the fruits of their hardwork are finally reaping as Aayush is selected to play in MCA U16 Payyade Trophy!