Team USA's Super 8 qualification rings in trouble for Saurabh Netravalkar, juggling best of both worlds? Netizens muse - Hindustan Times
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Team USA's Super 8 qualification rings in trouble for Saurabh Netravalkar, juggling best of both worlds? Netizens muse

Jun 16, 2024 04:47 AM IST

As Team USA celebrates its landmark qualification for the Super 8 round of the T20 World Cup, fans fear their star pacer's full-time job could become a hurdle.

Team USA penned history on Friday after achieving the record-high milestone as qualifiers for the Super 8 stage of the T20 World Cup despite their fresh debut in the tournament this year. On an even more wholesome note, this is taking a new life the same year as the country is hosting (alongside West Indies) its first Cricket World Cup.

New York, Jun 12 (ANI): USA's Saurabh Netravalkar celebrates the dismissal of India's captain Rohit Sharma during their Group A match in the ICC T20 World Cup 2024, at Nassau County International Cricket Stadium in New York on Wednesday. (Surjeet Yadav)
New York, Jun 12 (ANI): USA's Saurabh Netravalkar celebrates the dismissal of India's captain Rohit Sharma during their Group A match in the ICC T20 World Cup 2024, at Nassau County International Cricket Stadium in New York on Wednesday. (Surjeet Yadav)

Having jumpstarted a new era for the sport in the United States, the national squad earned much of its contributions, with 7 out of the 15-member squad pioneered by players of Indian origin. Team USA's players this year are indeed a class apart, especially with the likes of star bowler Saurabh Netravalkar, who was significantly instrumental in the team's victory over Pakistan on Thursday. But, that's not all. There's much more than meets the eye with this cricketer, who also knows how to code!

Way before the Men's USA Cricket team set foot on the field, Netravalkar had already gone viral for living the best of both worlds as one of his colleagues outed his identity as an Oracle employee on X (formerly Twitter). The initial buzz around the man of the hour particularly caught the attention of Indian fans equally, who launched in a frenzy, awaiting USA's showdown against India on June 12 – the latter ultimately had the upper hand and won by 7 wickets.

Fans and players alike may have been left teary-eyed by the emotional exchange between the Indian squad and the American lineup, also majorly empowered by Indians. However, those feelings have now been traded for fears as fans worry about Saurabh Netravalkar's future in the game with a looming dilemma.

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Dilemma faced by Saurabh Netravalkar, the AI engineer-cricket star, vs full-time cricketer

Debarghya (Deedy) Das, a fellow Indian-origin techie (influencer) like Netravalkar, sparked a conversation on X/Twitter, raising a worthwhile query about whether the star bowler would get sufficient paid time off from Oracle.

Sharing the American computer software company's holiday structure for its employees, he wrote on the social media platform: "Team USA may have qualified for the Super 8 of the Cricket World Cup for the first time in history...

But the real question is will their star bowler Netravalkar get paid time off from Oracle beyond 18 days?"

Deedy pointed out that Oracle offers two forms of vacation benefits: “Flexible” and “Accrued.” While the former is offered to salaried employees, the latter is offered to “employees eligible for vacation benefits who are not eligible for the Flexible Vacation policy. Employees accrue 13 days of vacation per year for the first three years of employment – and 18 days thereafter.”

Despite the delightful news for Team USA, an army of cricket fans jumped in to speculate what awaits Netravalkar as they buried their noses in sombre conjectures.

Someone wrote, responding to Deedy's tweet, “He most likely is not getting paid time off, and his match fees would be much lower than his salary. He will be paying to play in the World Cup!"

Someone else quipped, “WFH in the day, T20I in the night.”

Others joined in to spotlight the “amount of PR Oracle” is garnering with the techie-cricketer by their side: "The amount of PR Oracle is getting, they should actually compensate him more.

Plus, pretty sure Microsoft and Google are already looking to have him onboard if Oracle messes up slightly 😂"

Some even proposed a steal deal for Oracle, suggesting the company officials should sponsor the team: “Oracle getting free promotions and he will eventually become a brand ambassador 😊”

Meanwhile, others mulled over the possibility that Oracle had already agreed to the rising exceptions in his case. Comments like “Most probably they will as this is a matter of reputation and PR for them” and "I bet he will, he is after all helping with their brand visibility across the globe… each time “Oracle’s AI engineer Saurabh…” chimed in.

Either way, the USA pacer has much more on his plate than other full-time cricketers, who can fully dedicate each penny, sweat, and second to their dreams that align with the sport.

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Oracle showing up in Saurabh Netravalkar's support

Once the team qualified for the future rounds of the 9th edition of the Men's T20 World Cup, Oracle jumped out to congratulate the player. The multinational company's official X account plastered praise for him across their social media feed: "So proud of our very own AI engineer and cricket star @Saurabh_Netra! @usacricket making history in #T20WorldCup.”

Opposed to the fans' distressed remarks, the Mumbai-born pacer positively replied to his employers with gratitude. “Thank you so much @Oracle for your support in enabling me to pursue my passion alongside my tech career!” wrote Netravalkar, who initially represented India in the 2010 U-19 Cricket World Cup, but eventually opted to pursue a Masters degree in Computer Science at Cornwell University.

Although a tweet can't fully reflect the profound reality faced by the USA cricket star, he seems to be in the right hands for now, especially with Oracle consistently remaining vocal as a source of strength to Netravalkar, at least online.

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