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UAE spinner dreams of donning India jersey
Kolkata: He might be donning the United Arab Emirates (UAE) jersey, but rookie off-spinner Rishabh Mukherjee has his eyes set on representing India in the future. For now though, he is eager to shine for the UAE at the U-19 World Cup next year to further fuel his dream.
Born in a northern pocket of the city, 18-year-old Rishabh moved to Dubai with his family at the age of five. Son to a father who also played cricket but could not realise his dream, Rishabh broke into the UAE U-19 side and helped them qualify for the World Cup earlier this year, followed by the Asia Cup.
In the ongoing Asia Cup in Sri Lanka, Rishabh had six wickets in three matches even as UAE bowed out of the competition, failing to win a single game.
With the World Cup now slated to take place in January next year in South Africa, Rishabh wants to continue his good show with the ball and take baby steps towards achieving his ultimate desire of playing for the Men in Blue. “My dream is to play for India. I wish to move back to Kolkata and try and get into the Bengal team by getting into a first division club after the U-19 World Cup is over. “I am ready to start all over again. I have spoken to many coaches back home and they have encouraged me,” Rishabh told IANS from Katunayake.
With the family staying in Dubai since 2006, Rishabh could get into the cricket team without hassle after impressing the selectors in the Inter Academy League in Dubai earlier this year. “I was actually preparing for club cricket because I was planning on going back to Kolkata. “And for the last two years, I’ve been working very hard. Luckily I performed in the Inter Academy League with the ball and got called into the UAE U-19 camp.
“In the camp, there were two selection games in which I took five wickets in one and four wickets in the other. All this happened in February.”
Rishabh was drafted into the UAE U-19 side that took part in the World Cup qualifiers in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) in April.
“I took nine wickets there in five matches. We qualified for the World Cup,” he said. (IANS)