It has been a great time for cricket in Anantapur. Nine days of some pulsating cricket came about as a result of the Anantapur Sports Academy’s (ASA) Invitational Cricket Tournament. Anantapur’s first ever edition of the invitational tournament welcomed overseas teams from Sri Lanka.
The tournament for cricketers in the age groups of U10, U 13 & U16 hosted two contingents of teams that came down from Sri Lanka. The first to arrive were the Sanath Jayasuriya Cricket Foundation(SJCF) that brought down three teams to compete in all the U10, U 13 & U16 categories. The second to arrive was the Wildfire Cricket Academy that came in with their U 13 & U16 teams. Apart from the overseas teams, the tournament also saw the participation of Mastering Cricket with Commitment and Consistency (MCCC) Bangalore in the competition.
The SJCF team arrived on the 13th of December, as they were scheduled to play between the 14th to the 18th of December, with the first two days of the tournament being pitted against the host teams in all categories. The MCCC came in from Bangalore on the 15th as they were scheduled to play their first round of matches on the 16th
The Wildfire Cricket Academy, however, brought themselves to the competition on the 16th and got into the nets for some training as they would begin their tournament the next day against compatriots SJCF.
The tournament was played in a league format, with every team going up against each of the other side’s twice. The tournament was primarily organized and held at the Rural Development Trust’s (RDT) Anantapur Sports Village (ASV). The ASV hosted the matches on all of its three grounds, The ASV stadium, ASV B ground and St Vincent De Paul ground. However, as the tournament progressed, games were also held at the Police Training College (PTC) ground in the city of Anantapur.
The tournament was a great show of sportsmanship and passion, with even the parents enthusiastically participating to cheer their boys on. The enthusiasm levels peaked as the teams sat back to watch and cheer as their support staff and parents got together to play a closely contested veterans’ game towards the end of the tournament.
The tournament and the veterans’ game were eventually won by the hosts with the Wildfire Cricket Academy taking runners up for the U10 & U13 categories while the U16 category runners-up spot going to the SJCF team.
“The tournament shaped up very well and gave us a lot of game time and much-needed exposure. It was great to see the youngest teams play like they did, with their passion for the game absolutely unmatched” said A Yugandhar Reddy, Coach of the ASV Cricket Academy.