Twelve children will be the envy of their peers on Saturday when they get to see the India-Sri Lanka face off live at the Wankhede Stadium.
The fortunate dozen from Dadar’s Shardashram Vidyamandir won destiny’s lottery to watch Saturday’s World Cup final after their school’s cricket team won the ICC’s mini World Cup for schools in February.
“This is thrilling, we have been waiting for this one day for the past two months,” said Manthan Desai, a Class 5 student. Desai and 11 others will hold the flag and walk out with the players when the teams’ national anthems are played.
A thirteenth Shardashram student will later take guard on the Wankhede wicket: Sachin Tendulkar, the school’s most famous alumnus. It is fitting that the school’s cricketing tradition has given the children a chance to witness history if Tendulkar scores his 100th century.
“Everyone wants to be a cricketer,” said Tejas Ghadi, a Class 9 student on the winning cricket team who will not, however, get a chance to go for the game. “Just like Sachin went on to play for the country, we too, hope to do the same. He makes us proud.”
Ghadi and other members of the school’s cricket team were disappointed when they found out that they would not get to watch the match and instead a group of younger children had been selected for the pre-match ceremony. The lucky dozen, however, could barely hold themselves together in anticipation.
“I’m not at all nervous about going on to the ground, and I can’t wait to see the players in action,” said Onkar Zare, another Class 5 student. His eyebrows dancing and a half-smile playing on his lips, Zare impersonated Muttiah Muralitharan, one of his favourite bowlers.
On Saturday morning, as soon as the exams end, the Class 5 students will have their sweet reprieve by way of the cricket.
“They haven’t been able to concentrate in school for the past two days,” said Sumati Kamble, the school’s principal. “The exams are on, but that is secondary, everyone’s just been focusing on the World Cup.”