Vicky Ostwal grabbed the attention following his heroics in India campaign opener against South Africa at the ongoing ICC Under-19 World Cup. The 19-year-old bagged a five-wicket haul to floor the Proteas batting unit in the chase of 233. The Indian colts clinched the game by 45 runs while the left-arm spinner won the Player of the Match Award.
Mohan Jadhav, Ostwal’s coach, recalled the time when he came across a 9-year-old boy who used to commute from Lonavala to Mumbai for playing cricket. In a conversation with the Indian Express, Jadhav said he got a call from one of the coaches at Vengsarkar Cricket Academy for Owtwal’s enrollment in Pune.
“I always saw them sometimes coming late, sometimes too early. So, one day I asked where they lived, and Vicky replied that he came from Lonavala. Take a train, eat there and then go back again. Most of his energy used to get spent in the journey itself but he never gave up. He always looked fresh on the ground and never showed fatigue,” Jadhav told Indian Express.
The coach convinced Ostwal’s father to relocate to Pune in order to cut the travelling time so the young boy could save his energy and utilise the same in his game.
“They used to play in Mumbai. He used to travel daily. Imagine a small boy, who had to travel two hours one way daily. He went to make his Mumbai Cricket Association card one day but was debarred as only players born in the city can play in MCA tournaments. So that is when I got a call to enroll the boy in Pune,” he added.
Jadhav was so impressed with Ostwal’s talent that he made the latter feature in the Under-14 tournaments at the age of 10. The coach praised the bowler’s flight and control that landed him in the Indian Under-19 world cup team.
“His control is the key. In junior games, he was successful because of his control and ability to bowl at one spot consistently. At the same time, he loves to talk about the game. He will pick points from others consistently to develop himself. You will see him keep talking in the nets always,” Jadhav said.