Sports, Cricket

Southee, Boult light up for school kids in Chennai

Published : 16 Oct 2023 09:28 PM

New Zealand's stars put smiles on the faces of about 50 school kids from UNICEF programmes by playing with them on a muggy Sunday afternoon at Chepauk. Trent BoultTim Southee,Mark Chapman, Daryl Mitchell, and Rachin Ravindra were among those who trained the kids and interacted with them. PC Prakash, the former Tamil Nadu batter who is currently in charge of the TNCA academy, kept a close watch on the proceedings.

It was a special day for S Mridula, though her No. 1 sport is football rather than cricket. "It was a great experience to share the field with international players during a World Cup at Chepauk," she said. "I've been going for football coaching for five months. My favourite football players are [Lionel] Messi and Neymar, and I don't watch much cricket, but it's nice to be here. In cricket my favourite is [MS] Dhoni, who plays here in Chennai."

For Chapman, the day brought back fond memories of how he fell in love with cricket as a kid.

"It's nice to give back to the local communities and some school children who are here today to enjoy the cricket," he said. "I used to come along for these sorts of days as a young child with the likes of Brendon McCullum, Dan Vettori and Stephen Fleming. These are the guys who we looked up to. These are memories that will stick with you as a young child and make a great impression on you."

Chapman and Southee obliged almost every request from the kids - and their physical education teachers - on Sunday. Two days ago, it was Conway, the fan favourite among a different batch of kids, who had come out to watch the New Zealand game at Chepauk. One of those kids even welcomed Conway, who had won the IPL title with Chennai Super Kings earlier this year, with a poster that brought Conway and a recent movie title of popular Tamil actor Silambarasan TR together.

The cheers swelled to a crescendo when the DJ introduced Conway as "Chennai's very own opener" on Friday. A few fans from Madurai had also travelled to Chennai just to watch their Super King bat. Conway briefly entertained them with 45 off 59 balls before Shakib Al Hasan trapped him lbw.