Sukhvir Singh is India's first Cricket Star
In the cricket talent hunt that concluded recently, Sukhvir Singh from Shahpur, a small village near Mohali, Punjab, emerged the winner.
Sukhvir, who had been among 25,000 applicants who auditioned for the show, won by a record margin. A right arm fast bowler, he has the potential to bowl at 125 kmph and, according to the coaches, has improved as the show progressed. Sukhvir gave up his class 12 studies for cricket and has been training under Sukhwinder Singh Tinku at the Mohali Sports academy. During Cricket Star, Sukhvir took 9 wickets in 10 matches, the most among medium pacers.
Manoj Badale, IIC chairman, said, "This is a dream come true for a small village boy from India. Cricket Star has demonstrated that talent exists beyond metros and mini-metros, and it is our belief that the right opportunity and process to unearth talent is the cornerstone of a successful team selection."
He added: "Sukhvir has demonstrated that, although from a humble background, given the right opportunity and encouragement, one can bring out innate cricketing talent. Every top cricketer has had an English county cricket stint. By exposing the young budding talent to Leicestershire
County cricket [the prize for winning the competition], we are upping the standard of cricketing skills as well as other skills required for a modern day international cricketer."
Kapil Dev, chief selector of Cricket Star, said: "I am very happy to announce Sukhvir Singh has won Cricket Star and extremely happy that he will be playing county cricket. All the final 11 players have strong talent. I would like to mention that Dinesh Salunke, Man of the Series, and Mohammad Abbas, the runner up, are exciting cricket players with potential to play higher levels. I am planning to offer scholarships to the two cricketers and Robin Singh has offered to train a couple of the other players. It is our commitment and responsibility to encourage and nurture talent from smaller towns of India."
Robin Singh, director of Cricket Star Academy, who was elated by the response the talent hunt generated, said, "Cricket Star is a unique and innovative talent hunt format that includes public opinion in shaping the future of cricketing talent. I am happy that Sukhvir has come out with flying colours and I wish all the final 11 cricketers a bright future. I am offering a training scholarship to the spinners at the MAC Spin Foundation in Chennai, where we train spinners who will ultimately represent India."
The show, which made its debut in India, will soon be implemented in Pakistan and the UK.