THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The 29-year-old Hercules Kids Cricket Club, which paved the way for many budding cricketers in the city, started off as an amateur sports affair by a bunch of friends headed by Anil Kumar. During their Onam holidays, just after India’s Prudential World Cup victory in 1983, they met at a small suburban lane in Palkulangara to discuss about the sport and ended up opening a club to encourage cricket in the city.
To start with, in 1983, they had 15 boys between the age of 18 and 20 as part of their club. The lack of facilities made them play at the dried up open fields in Palkulangara. Over a period of time, they were allowed to use the SMV School ground at Manjalikkulam, near Thampanoor, for practice.
“At the same time, in 1984, the club got registered with the Thiruvananthapuram District Cricket Association (TDCA) and since then, every year, we have been conducting a one-month summer camp in April for boys of the age group 7 to 20 years. In the end, we select a few good candidates to join the club. Selection would be based on their performance and grasping skills,” says Dr Anil, founder secretary of Kids Cricket Club and KCA assistant secretary.
Chenthilkumar (president), Binukumar T G (treasurer) and Shaju Mathen (manager) are its other office-bearers. The boys are coached by Bijumon and Ajay Prasad.
All of them are employed at various organisations. Coach Ajay, employed as the gunman of City Police Commissioner T J Jose, finds time to coach these boys inspite of his busy schedule. He is also the coach and a player of the Thiruvananthapuram district police cricket team.
The boys of the club reach the SMV ground at 3.30 pm for practise and it goes on till 6.30 pm. Vishnu Mahesh, a club member for five years, says, “ I aim to be in the team playing for the Renji tournament next year.”
With the facilities available, the boys strive hard to achieve their goals. “We are here to learn the sport. And so it doesn’t matter how big the ground is. The training we get here is what matters,” says Unnikrishnan Nair, a member who represented Kerala University in under-22 matches.
“Along with physical training, the boys are also mentally trained. Dr Sebastin Padikkaparambil provides them with mental toughness. He interacts with the players individually once in a month to sort out their difficulties,” says Chenthilkumar.
This year, the club has won the Legends Cricket Tournament-2012 held at Kottayam and Jerry Premraj All Kerala Cricket Tournament-2012 at Vellayani. Some of the notable players who have emerged from the training are Raiphy Gomez, Faizal Muhammad and Sambasiva Sharma.