Even before Shardashram School's most famous ex-student, batsman Sachin Tendulkar, strides on to the greens for the World Cup next year, students of the Dadar School will duke it out in the semi-finals of the Mini Cricket World Cup on Wednesday.
In the build up to the cricket World Cup that will be held in India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka in February and March 2011, the International Cricket Council (ICC) has launched a school contact programme for children. The winning school will get a replica of the world cup, while some students will also get the chance to participate in pre-match festivities, when the tournament rolls in to town.
"We are all very excited that we won today and we are confident that we will win the semis and the final on Wednesday and be able to go ahead and watch the world cup live at the venue," said Sairaj Sangle, a Class 10 student and the Shardashram team wicketkeeper.
Other semi-finalists in the mini cricket world cup in Mumbai include St Rock's High School in Borivli, Sailee International School in Borivli and GES High School in Goregaon. Four of the eight participating teams (selected on a first-come, first-served basis) were already knocked out in preliminary rounds held on Tuesday.
"I am very excited about playing in the ICC Cricket World Cup next year and it is great to see that young people across the country are getting involved in the tournament as well," said batsman Virender Sehwag, in a press release. "I know that I was inspired to play the game when I watched the World Cup when I was younger and hopefully some of the players taking part in the schools tournaments may go on to play for India at a future event."
As part of the initiative students will also participate in HIV awareness organized by Think Wise, a partnership between the ICC, UNAIDS, UNICEF and the Global Media AIDS Initiative.