ASA’s Tireless Endeavour in Nurturing Rural Talent

A young, Kapalla Naresh Kumar, aged 25, has already played for the Andhra U19, U22 and U25 teams. He has now firmly set his eyes on making his Ranji trophy debut for the Andhra state team. A pivotal moment in his cricket career that he looks forward to. A vibrant personality, and a graduate of Rural Development Trust’s (RDT) Anantapur Sports Academy (ASA), Naresh is an exciting future prospect for the Andhra state team in the near future, as per ASA’s coach A. Yugandhar Reddy.

cricket-asas-tireless-endeavour-largeHis past, though, has been one of many trials and tribulations in his journey of becoming a cricketer. Naresh comes from an underprivileged family in Bathalapalli. His father was a temple priest and his mother, a housewife. His father’s daily earnings were not enough for his family to have three meals a day. His passing away in 2014, made things worse at the Kumar household. Being the only brother to three older sisters, brought him a lot of love, but also the added pressure of stepping up to become the family breadwinner.

Amidst this predicament, Naresh discontinued his education after his Intermediate education in 2008 to support his family. However, Naresh kept alive his undying love for the game of cricket, continuing to participate regularly. He gained the attention of RDT, with his performances in the Rural Cricket Tournament, one of India’s largest grassroots cricket tournaments featuring as many as 340 teams. A tournament primarily organized to encourage sport among the youth of rural Anantapur.

Noticing the young man’s determination and passion to play cricket and his dedication towards his studies, RDT provided Naresh with monetary support to complete his education, while presenting him with the opportunity to train at Anantapur Sports Village (ASV). Naresh successfully completed his college education from Government Junior College in 2013, thanks to this support while continuing to play competitive Cricket.

Training at the ASV came as a big boon for Naresh as he got some much needed experience and exposure to polish his cricketing skills. His hard work and dedication continued to grab eyeballs. Never was there a moment, when he failed to impress his coaches.

This resulted in his recommendation for specialist training camps. The BCCI organized one such camp for pace bowlers at Mohali, Punjab in 2011. Naresh participated in this camp and subsequently improved his bowling skills by leaps and bounds.

Naresh heartily thanks to RDT for their support, saying “My life has changed entirely since RDT’s intervention. They helped me to complete my education and also offered me an opportunity to play cricket at the academy under very good and experienced mentors, amidst a world class infrastructure.”

Yugandhar Reddy, ASV’s Cricket coach has observed him closely as a player and person, saying “Naresh is one of those hard working cricketers who has balanced his education and his liking for the sport with the same level of dedication and is a role model for other young boys at the academy. He has set an example for the other kids to follow”.