Spinner Nethula returns home but in Kiwi dressing room | cricket | Hindustan Times
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Spinner Nethula returns home but in Kiwi dressing room

Next week, coach John Manoj's most illustrious ward VVS Laxman will be playing international cricket at his home ground probably for the last time. Khurram Habib reports.

cricket Updated: Aug 18, 2012 00:40 IST
Khurram Habib

Next week, coach John Manoj's most illustrious ward VVS Laxman will be playing international cricket at his home ground probably for the last time.

But another pupil, Tarun Nethula, may get to play his first Test in Hyderabad, although he'll do it for New Zealand.

Nethula, a leg-spinner, is Manoj's former trainee and it seems that his former home will be the venue of his debut Test. "His uncle worked with me in Andhra Bank and he brought him to me one day," Manoj told HT.

Impressed with his talent, Manoj got him enrolled in his academy.

"He bowled good leg-spin for his age and soon started playing junior cricket in Hyderabad. But his family migrated to New Zealand. He was young (13 years) and I knew he could play for New Zealand as there is a dearth of quality spinners there," said the coach.

A few years after Nethula's family moved, V Manohar, a coach at Manoj's St John's academy, too migrated. Since then, Nethula has kept in touch with him.

While he had moderate success at Auckland, Nethula's move to Central Districts worked as he got a national team call-up.

Two months back, John Buchanan, the head of New Zealand Cricket (NZC), thought of sending him to India to acclimatise ahead of the West Indies and India tours.

"It was Laxman who told me that Nethula wanted to come to India to learn. NZC got in touch with Anil (Kumble) in Bangalore for Nethula's training. He stayed in Hyderabad for two weeks and in Bangalore for a week," said Manoj.

Although Manoj wants him to do well, the India batsmen are unlikely to give Nethula a warm return.

The Nethulas are looking forward to seeing him play. Cousin Rohit says, "He comes to India regularly but this time it'll be with the team. We are looking forward to it."