Newtonbrook Secondary School may not be known for its cricket team, but one of its former cricketer is starting to make a name for himself.
Nehal Patel, 18, was one of 12 teenage players selected to the inaugural Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) Mayor’s cricket team in June.
Patel, who will be attending York University in the fall, has been bowling and batting since was a youngster.
“I love cricket, it’s my passion,” said Patel, who is so passionate about playing cricket that he would bus for two hours, from North York to Markham, to practice. “I’d do anything to play cricket.”
However, trying to play cricket at Newtonbrook was a frustrating experience for Patel as the school would play infrequently and, in some years, there weren’t enough players to field a team.
His passion for the game led him to want to compete in the inaugural CIMA Mayor’s Cup cricket tournament in May, but he was concerned his team wouldn’t participate.
“[Patel] wrote to CIMA asking if CIMA would help him join the tournament through another school,” said Ranil Mendis on behalf of CIMA. “After a few emails, he talked to the school authorities and pushed for the team to take part,”
While Newtonbrook lost two matches against Lester B. Pearson and George Vanier high schools, Patel was a standout on the team and was invited by organizers to try out for CIMA Mayor’s Cup team.
And the organizers were impressed by the qualities they saw in Patel.
“He looks very balanced, not only as a player, but as an individual,” said Amaresh Rajaratnam, the team’s coach. “What we looked [for] are the kids that especially had both sides, the academic as well as the cricketing ability. Nehal was one of them that we thought ‘Okay, he looks one of those guys who will take instructions and go with it, and be able to mould the other players into whatever he’s doing as a skipper.’ ”
The team will be participating in the Cricket Across the Pond scholarship, which involves flying to the United Kingdom, competing against a CIMA-formed team that represents London’s mayor, Boris Johnson, and visiting hallowed cricket grounds across the country.
The Toronto Mayor’s team departed for London July 13, and the match between Toronto and London teams took place July 17.
Patel is looking forward to play abroad for the first time.
“I want to show them I represent Toronto. Show them good sportsmanship,” he said.
For Rajaratnam, he says this tour will be a great opportunity for his players.
“Going to England, that’s the home of cricket,” said Rajaratnam. “At this level, to get this break to go to England and play and have the opportunity to meet the Mayor of London, that’s a highly prestigious opportunity.”
Rajaratnam likes the team that has been put together.
“For their age, they’re pretty good. They’re a couple kids, and they have very high skill. I hope somebody takes charge later down the road and develop them into international players.”
With his prior experience of the England environment cricket, Rajaratnam is confident that the team that he helped put together can be successful against London this month.
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