Arjun Nimmala confident of baseball stars emerging from India soon | Cricket - Hindustan Times
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Arjun Nimmala confident of baseball stars emerging from India soon

ANI |
Dec 01, 2023 12:42 PM IST

While cricket is known as a religion in India, Arjun Nimmala has etched a name for himself in history books in baseball. The remarkable talent, who has lived in Florida, USA, all his life, earned himself a spot in the first round of the MLB amateur draft in July, where he was selected by the Toronto Blue Jays.

New Delhi [India], December 1 (ANI): While cricket is known as a religion in India, Arjun Nimmala has etched a name for himself in history books in baseball. The remarkable talent, who has lived in Florida, USA, all his life, earned himself a spot in the first round of the MLB amateur draft in July, where he was selected by the Toronto Blue Jays.

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It was the first time a first-generation Indian American had been drafted at such a high level across any of the four major USA professional sports leagues.

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In an interaction, the baseball prodigy talked about the historic day and his reaction to the moment when he was drafted to Toronto Blue Jays. "It was pure happiness everywhere. I was surrounded by everyone and the cameras were on all of us. All I could feel was their love, and everyone was very supportive and loving. I think that experience was very cool and really memorable for me."

Arjun is currently in the minor league system with the Blue Jays, from where he would have to work his way up to Toronto to the Major League team, which is the normal progression for any Baseball Star. He has already played a few training games and has started training with the team on the Major League roster during the offseason, where he got a chance to train and interact with his idol Francisco Lindor. He will be back training with the entire Blue Jays roster in the spring.

But despite being spending so much time in USA, Arjun still remembers his roots and went on to recall the time he has spent in India. "Both my parents are from Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh. We used to visit our family every two years in India. Due to COVID restrictions and my baseball training camps, we could not go there more often, but I really enjoyed my time there. My parents took me to all the places and I know the city like the back of my hand. It is like a second home for me."

Because of Nimmala's rising popularity and stature, Major League Baseball (MLB) and Disney Star partnered with IMG and Amped Pictures to produce a captivating docuseries titled "Indian Baseball Dreams", which was release on Star Sports and is still available for viewing on Disney Hotstar in India.

The four-part documentary series follows the journey of Arjun Nimmala, and showcases his travels across India, and his rise to success.

Arjun opened up on how his closest friends and family reacted to the documentary and said, "I think that the immediate response was of happiness. My family, my dad, mom, and my brother, were all extremely shocked and delighted. It just goes to show all that hard work pays off and it has become something very special to me," Arjun said.

"Back home in India also, you know they are very much in love with the documentary and that is all I can ask for," he added.

Arjun also spoke about his love for Indian cinema and cricket stars and admitted that he was cheering for the Indian cricket team during the recently-concluded World Cup.

"I met Ajinkya Rahane while shooting the documentary and it was a memorable experience. I also kept a tabs on the scores during the Cricket World Cup and was obviously cheering for India. I have also met a few Bollywood stars such as Tamannah and then Ranveer Singh. My family and I also like to watch Brahmanandam. He's a very funny guy, so I love watching his movies."

Arjun has also tried his hands with cricket in his younger days during one of his visits to his family hometown of Vijaywada. Speaking about his transition from the sport of cricket to 'America's favourite pass time' he said, "I think the transition from cricket to baseball was easy because having some experience with cricket helped me. Cricket and baseball are quite similar, but also not so much same at the same time. Both games use bat and ball, and that helped me a lot to understand how to play the sport. But the rules are quite different, and the techniques are different," he said.

"I started baseball at the age of 6 when my parents moved to Florida in 2002. They realised how cricket and baseball are quite similar and they introduced me to the sport. Ever since that point, my interest in the sport took off. It's been a fun ride for me, but It's something that I'm very appreciative of," Arjun added.

He concluded by talking about the future of Baseball as a sport in India, Arjun commented, "I think that MLB's dedication to growing the sport in India is going very well. I think that it would work and it is a smart move because cricket and baseball are very, very similar. And I think that baseball is definitely going to emerge in India very soon and stars could come out in India as well."(ANI)

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