New Delhi, May 25 (IANS) Covid-19 pandemic may have put a stop to outdoor batting net sessions for most cricketers, but for nine-year-old Vighnaj Prejith, whose drives with back and across movement are being discussed even in English media as sign of Indias batting talent depth, it turned into an opportunity.
The little boy began playing cricket with his grandmother in their flat after getting hooked to cricket in 2019 a couple of months after watching Indian Premier League (IPL).
“He would bat against my mother (the kid’s grandmother) in the flat. After a month or two, I realised he was hitting good shots. We didn’t know much about cricket, so I searched online to learn basics of cricket and imparted them to him. I got him a bat too,” said father Prejith V told IANS from Thrissur in Kerala.
Vighnaj would get up at 4.45-5.00 a.m. and would practice batting for three hours in the flat with family at home throwing balls at him.
“Unfortunately, one day last year, he broke his bat. He asked me to get it fixed or get a new one but we couldn’t find any shop open in Thrissur. They were all shut due to lockdown.
“He insisted he wanted to continue batting with a stump in the absence of a bat. I rejected the request at first but then relented and allowed him to bat with it in our flat. What I saw surprised me. He was hitting the (plastic) ball with the middle of the stump,” recalls father Prejith V.
After the lockdown was over, he got a new bat and was admitted to a local cricket academy — Loongs Cricket Academy.
“He went there for six months before lockdown put a stop to his cricket once again, last month (April, 2021). Since then, he has been practicing only at home.”
A video of his batting skills, where he is seen hitting his drives with a stump, caught the eye of Rajasthan Royals (RR) talent scout Romi Bhinder, whose academy in Nagpur is contracted with Rajasthan Royals (RR).
“I found this boy through a Facebook video. I talked to his dad and told him that the franchise will look after him in future. I told him that we will call him to the academy for further training and do whatever we can to help him,” Bhinder told IANS from Nagpur.
The father is elated, no wonder. “RR has told us that they will sponsor him. They said they will help Vighnaj get some lessons from RR skipper Sanju Samson,” said Prejith.
Samson too hails from Kerala.
Hitting a ball with stump is known to sharpen reflexes. There was another international batsman who used to sharpen his reflexes with a stump and a golf ball as a kid over 100 years ago. That batsman went by the name of Sir Don Bradman.