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Hyderabad: For 18-year-old Hyderabad fast bowler Bhuvanagiri Punniah, it was a dream opportunity to rub shoulders with the best in the business.

The youngster was chosen as net bowler for Sunrisers Hyderabad and he spent a month with the team where he got to interact with the greats like Dale Steyn and current Indian cricketers Bhuvneshwar Kumar, T Naratajan.

Apart from these current stars, he also got to interact with the likes of Sri Lankan great Muttiah Muralitharan, West Indies great Brian Lara, Tom Moody, leaving him with a life-time memories. He grabbed the opportunity to be the net bowler for the Hyderabad team after having impressed everyone in the debut season in Ranji Trophy. “It is a big learning curve for me. I got to see how top international players prepare ahead of matches and how they train in nets. I am very fortunate to spend a month’s time with Sunrisers,” said an elated fast bowler.

Though limited, the interactions with Indian pacers Bhuvneshwar and bowling coach Steyn will keep the youngster in good stead. “Bhuvneshwar Kumar said I was bowling well and told me to focus on maintaining line and length. Getting such compliments from a player like him is a big boost for me. I also got to see how their mind operates when a particular batter is at the crease.”

“I got to learn how to bowl well with white ball and also now leant to use cutters and setting the field. I read the bowlers’ mind on how they think in nets and in matches. I also got to play practice matches. Though I didn’t get to bowl in those matches, I fielded and saw from close up on how the top class bowlers think during the matches,” he added. He said that the experience would make him a better player.

Punnaiah also cherished the opportunity to bowl at the likes of quality players like Kane Williamson, Nicholas Pooran and Abhishek Sharma. “They are world class players. Bowling to them in the nets was a great experience. They also encouraged me saying that I was bowling well. It is a big boost,” he added.

The pacer is currently in the NCA camp in Wayanad, Kerala undergoing training for the upcoming Indian team selections. “After the Ranji Trophy matches, I got a call from NCA saying that I have been selected for the camp. Around 25 players are called for this camp. Right now, the camp is for a month and they will select the Indian under-19 team for the international tournaments. I want to do well here and make it to the Indian under-19 team,” said the fast bowler. The month-long camp is being supervised by former Indian players Tinu Yohannan and Venkatapathy Raju.


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Author: Howard Caldwell