Sport

Amit Sharma's cricket journey takes him from Indian streets to Canberra fields

Yograj Singh was more than just a coach in the eyes of Canberra batsman Amit Sharma.

The former Indian fast bowler and father of swashbuckling Indian all-rounder Yuvraj Singh coached Sharma during his teenage years in Chandigarh in northern India.

Amit Sharma grew up with some of India's finest cricketers, and is transferring that form to the ACT Premier Cricket ...
Amit Sharma grew up with some of India's finest cricketers, and is transferring that form to the ACT Premier Cricket competition. Photo: Graham Tidy

"He was like a father figure for me," Sharma said. "In my view, he is one of the toughest coaches in India. To do the training and everything, we would be at the ground at six o'clock in the morning.

"It's tough, because most of the [cricket] season is in winter, so our college starts in July and goes until April, so we will be playing in the heat as well."

Yuvraj Singh playing in a T20 international for India. Yuvraj went to school with Amit Sharma.
Yuvraj Singh playing in a T20 international for India. Yuvraj went to school with Amit Sharma. Photo: Getty Images

Yograj became famous for helping his son Yuvraj develop into a world-class cricketer.

A veteran of 293 one-day internationals and 40 Tests with India, Yuvraj famously hit English bowler Stuart Broad for six sixes in an over during the 2007 World Twenty20. He was also named man of the tournament at the 2011 World Cup.

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Sharma recalls meeting Yuvraj when he was only beginning to make an impact in international cricket, both attending DAV College - an Indian sporting institution which is famous for producing high quality cricketers.

"I met Yuvraj a long, long time ago when I was in college. So Yuvraj Singh, Kapil Dev, Yuvraj's father ... they come from the same college."

Sharma represented a Chandigarh under-19 side before moving to Australia a decade ago chasing a better way of life.

He expected to see people playing cricket in the streets, and said he struggled to find a way into cricket.

"It's a lot more professional. You start as a young boy in India playing street cricket and everything, but over here you get to play proper club cricket. Although over there is club cricket as well, you don't get proper grounds and umpires and everything.

"I was really surprised when I came over here - back in Sydney - I didn't find anyone playing cricket for a few months. I thought, like in India, it's mad over there, I thought it would be mad over here as well."

He's now set up a life in Canberra with his family, and his cricket it starting to blossom. He was picked to play in an ACT Comets selection match in January, and has the second highest batting average across the ACT Premier cricket two-day competition this season.

"I learnt quite a lot, like how professional they are," he said. "I was a bit disappointed not to score runs, but that was the only sad part, that's all right. I'll try to do it next season again.

"Now I am an Australian citizen, half of my family is here, my family and my younger brother's family, so we all live together. Now life is great here."

Sharma will join Tuggeranong Valley when they look to redeem their season against Ginninderra this weekend at Kippax.

Across town, Wests-UC will aim to continue their dominant form against ANU at ANU North, North Canberra Gungahlin play Queanbeyan District at Harrison, and Weston Creek scrap it out against Eastlake at Stirling Oval for a position in the top two.