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?Kaif, Raina role models for UP?

SELECTION OF elegant all-rounder Suresh Raina in the Indian team for the upcoming tri-series in Sri Lanka has helped notch up Uttar Pradesh Cricket Association?s (UPCA) image at the national level.
By HT Correspondent | PTI, Lucknow
UPDATED ON JUL 23, 2005 03:52 PM IST

SELECTION OF elegant all-rounder Suresh Raina in the Indian team for the upcoming tri-series in Sri Lanka has helped notch up Uttar Pradesh Cricket Association’s (UPCA) image at the national level.

Accepting this, UPCA secretary Jyoti Bajpai on Tuesday claimed that Raina’s selection in the team had boosted the morale of the association and would boost their efforts in the development of cricket in the State.

“Besides a great temperament, Raina is very dedicated too and he will go far,” said Bajpai, who also happens to be the treasurer of the Board of Cricket for Control in India. He told HT from Kanpur on phone, “We have enough credibility in the Board, but Raina’s selection has given us a new image.”

Besides Jyoti Bajpai, UPCA officials like Rajiv Shukla is vice-president in board, former Test cricketer Gopal Sharma is a member of the selection committee and UP Ranji team coach Rajendra Singh ‘Hans’ is a technical officials in the board.
Lauding the consistent performance of Mohd Kaif in the Indian team since 2000, Bajpai said Kaif’s presence in the Indian team was also instrumental in Raina’s selection in the team. “The duo has now become a role model for other cricketers in the State.”

“He (Kaif) keeps supporting cricketers from his home state and moreover, compelled selectors to look for more cricketers from UP.”

“Kaif led Uttar Pradesh to finish joint winner in the Ranji Trophy one-dayer, which was the biggest-ever achievement for UP cricket in the last 50 years. Kaif has leadership qualities and at the international level he has established himself as an important member of the Indian team.”

“It’s a matter of great pride for all of us that both the youngsters Raina and JP Yadav in the Lanka-bound team belong to Central Zone,” said an elated Bajpai, adding, “Raina’s selection has proved that UP has no dearth of talent.” He proudly claimed that besides winning the under-19 title, Uttar Pradesh cricketers bagged the under-17 and under-15 titles last season.

 “I find Rudra Pratap Singh, Tanmay Srivastava, Piyush Chawla and Avinash Yadav as the next lot of probables for the Indian team.” Bajpai also admired the roles of two government-run Cricket Hostels i.e. Kanpur and Lucknow. Mohd Aamir, Ravikant Shukla, Ali Murtuza and Rudra Pratap Singh were chosen for the National Cricket Academy this year, while Rudra has been sent to attend 45-day training camp in Australia under the Gavaskar-Border Scholarship Programme. Last year Suresh Raina was sent to Australia under this scheme.

Four other inmates of the Gomti Nagar Cricket Hostel i.e. Ali Murtuza, Mohd Arif, Rakesh Mishra and Ankit Tewari were selected for the Central Zone Cricket Academy at Kanpur. 

 “I foresee a bright future for UP cricket. I admit that UPCA officials don’t play a direct role in the selection of players at various levels, but they keep supporting them in all manners,” Bajpai concluded.

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