When they aren't focused on their school studies, Sebastian M. and Abhi M. enjoy spending their time training with the Chicago Youth Cricket Academy (CYCA), under the guidance of head coach Mehul Shani. Every afternoon this week, the boys have been engaged in an intensive spring break camp with Corey Anderson, former professional New Zealand international cricketer. Mr. Anderson has also played as an all-rounder for the Lahore Qalanders in the PSL, Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL. Both boys shared their enthusiasm when reflecting on the experience so far. They unanimously agreed, "it's been exciting to receive coaching from a professional player and we've learned so much this week".
Sebastian first became interested in cricket a few years ago after watching Australia beat England in the Ashes and playing with his older sister and father down at the park (and in their home during the winter months). Sebastian has trained with the CYCA for the past year.
Growing up in Chicago in a cricket-loving family from India, Abhi got hooked early on while watching Indian Premier League (IPL) and the Cricket World Cup. Like Sebastian, he would practice in the parks of the city with his dad. When BISC-LP announced the addition of an after-school cricket club, Abhi was thrilled. The club was organized by Bolingbrook Cricket League (BPL) founder Mir Ali and happened to be the only youth cricket program in Chicagoland at the time. After the club, Abhi started playing serious cricket with the white and red ball at BPL Youth Club.
In 2019, the Chicago Youth Cricket Academy (CYCA) was founded as a non-profit organization to promote youth cricket for boys and girls across the Chicagoland area. Both boys participate in the CYCA travel team and competed in tournaments in San Francisco and St. Louis. Due to COVID restrictions, 2020 games were put on hold, but when CDC guidance allowed, the training resumed during the second half of 2020.
Abhi and Sebastian are excited to continue on with the traveling team in 2021 with tournaments already planned in St. Louis, Atlanta, Seattle and San Francisco. They are anticipating an exciting season ahead. In the mean time, they are improving their skills each day and ready for more wins!