The Young Talent Cricket Academy teams returned from their UK tour with success.  The Under 16 and Under 19 teams won all their matches while the Under 13 team won 4 out of 6 matches.

The highlights of the tour were victories for the YTCA teams against Morpeth CC, South Shields CC , Washington CC, Benwell Hill CC , Marsden CC , Sacriston CC. The Under 19 team also visited the Ampleforth College to play a touring team from China.

Two of their bowlers – off spinner Sairaj Venkat and leg spinner Vishakh Chandrasekhar were picked by Durham County Cricket Club to bowl in the nets against the Australian and English test teams at the Riverside before the fourth Ashes Test.

Both teams wanted to sharpen their skills against spin and it was a proud moment for the Academy as its bowlers were specifically picked. Shahzad Altaf –Director YTCA thanked both Geoff Cook and John Windows of the Durham County Cricket Club for giving the YTCA bowlers a chance to bowl against the likes of Shane Watson. Usman Khwaja , Matthew Wade , Ed  Cowan , Ashton Agar and  Kevin Pietersen.

Both the boys remarked later –” It was initially a little tough as any loose ball would get smashed but once we got into the rhythm , we were able to learn the key lesson of bowling a good line and length and believe it or not, on a few occasions , we did beat the bat. We will never forget these two days.”

This is the first time that on a UK tour , the YTCA bowlers have bowled to Test batsmen and the boys thanked Shahzad Altaf for all his encouragement and support.

For the Under 19 team, Sairaj Venkat also hit a fine century and shared a fine 206 run partnership with Vishakh Chandrasekhar who hit an unbeaten 81 against Sacriston CC. Bharath Srinivasan was in fine form and hit two fifties and anchored the team to fine victories over Washington CC and South Shields CC. He was well supported by Abhishek Nair and Abrar Khazi who contributed well. Priyadarshan Nagasubramanian , Siddhant Jhurani , Joel John and Vaibhav Chandrasekhar provided a rare four member pace quartet for the YTCA while Rahul Bhatia, Sairaj and Vishakh formed a formidable spin trio. It was one of the best bowling attacks of YTCA on a UK tour. The Under 16 team led by Shobit Bhatia also won the T20 tournament played at South Shields CC.

In the Under 13 team, Aneesh Vasudevan was in fine form with 2 fifties and scripted the victory for his team. He was well supported by Prateek Rao ,Rahul Nambiar, Jaithra Bhatia, Nikhil Nambiar, Karan Sunil Israni ,Rithik Sunil Israni. Shashwik Shetty was the pick of the bowlers with his fine left arm pace while Rahul Vishwanath , Adil  Ahmed , Aditya R and Aditya Gokhale provided great support. Nidruv and Abhinav excelled in an all round performance. Vishesh ,Moosa Shahzad and and Zac – the youngest player on the tour also contributed well. Dolly Israni handled all the logistics of the tour.

The teams were also pleased to meet Paul Collingwood who visited the Durham Indoor nets where the team practiced for their tour.

At the end of the tour, Geoff Cook and John Windows from the Durham County Cricket Club awarded trophies to the best players and certificates to all the participants. Shahzad Altaf – Director YTCA thanked the sponsors – Dr Rajkumar Nair and Mr Mohan Nambiar for their support to the tour. He also thanked Mr Jahangir Khan of the Best Western Ryokan Hotel and Allen Clarke from the Umpires Association for all the help provided to the team.

The awards were given to the following YTCA players-

 Under 13   Player of the Tournament –    Aneesh Vasudevan

                    Best Batsman –                         Rithik Sunil Israni

                    Best Bowler –                            Shashwik Shetty

Under 16   Player of the Tournament –  Rahul Bhatia

                    Best Batsman –                        Bharath Srinivasan

                     Best Bowler                            Priyadrashan Nagasubramanian

Under 19   Player of the Tournament –   Sairaj Venkat

                   Best Batsman                           Vishakh Chandrasekhar

                   Best Bowler                              Siddhant Jhurani