UP's Divyansh trip to the U19 World Cup through Mizoram

NEW DELHI: Monday morning, when junior national selectors named Divyansh Joshi in the team for the next U19 World cup in South Africa next month, they essentially put Mizoram Indian cricket map. Joshi will go down in the record books as the first player, playing for one of the five new northeast states, to represent India in a World cup .

Joshi's story is an interesting case study in the expansion of India. Cricket board of directors (BCCI) that resisted giving to the northeastern states and full membership of the Union Territory and bringing them to the national circuit. The 18-year-old medium-speed bowling alley would thank its stars that these teams were placed under the BCCI umbrella just in time for him to keep his career on track.

Joshi had represented Uttar Pradesh at U-14 and U-16 levels before being a regular feature in the board’s zonal and national camps for those age groups. He learnt his art at Sonnet Club in Delhi under Dronacharya award-winning coach Tarak Sinha before staying close to his home in Greater Noida. But UP Cricket left him behind when it was time for him to graduate to U-19 Cricket . “I was not considered for U-19 camps in UP. I had been a consistent performer in U-14 and U-16 Cricket . I was always part of the zonal Cricket academies and the NCA camps. I didn’t play any state-level Cricket last year. So, I decided to move out of UP,” Joshi, son of a software engineer, told TOI.

Joshi logged into the BCCI website and registered for other teams as a professional. I could not have lost another year. My family and I were not sure if UP would give me a chance this year. So I went to court in Kolkata earlier this year and the people of Mizoram decided to enroll me, ”said Joshi.

He played only six games for Mizoram in the Vinoo Mankad matches and that was when the selectors' desperation coincided with finding the entire bowling game. “We had been looking for an all-terrain bowling for two years. All the selectors saw him play in Pondicherry and thought he had something in him. He could hit the ball hard down in the order and is an intelligent operator with the ball in death, ”junior team president Ashish Kapoor told TOI.

Usually, these new states play among themselves in Group D and the quality of Cricket is not considered to be very high. That’s why the selectors decided to test him in the U-19 Challengers series and also the few one-dayers against Afghanistan. “We watched his videos and nets sessions closely. He was already part of the system till U-16s. I don’t know what happened in UP that he had to move to Mizoram. Since the World cup is in South Africa, he fits in nicely,” Kapoor remarked.

While Joshi's story seems like a talent that survives due to the opportunities offered by BCCI regulations, Kapoor warned that this does not become a trend. “There should be no shortcuts. Divyansh's selection is genuine because he impressed in each test. Since it was already part of the system, we helped him get back to it. People should not simply try to move to these states to get races and wickets and believe they can return to the big league. They should try to stick to their own established state and force it there, ”said the former Indian off-spinner.

Joshi, for now, can’t thank Mizoram enough for giving him this lifeline but he may have to take a tough call if he has to grow as a first-class Cricket er. “Playing U-19 World cup It was a dream. I am focused on the tournament right now. I will think about my first-class career once I finish this tournament, Joshi said.

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