Ideal path for Kerala U-19 boys would be to succeed in first-class cricket and then play IPL: Biju George

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By Vipul Kashyap

New Delhi [India], September 22 (ANI): Biju George, who has coached eight boys of Kerala's U-19 team who will be part of the Vinoo Mankad Trophy, on Wednesday said he wants players to harbour the dream of succeeding in first-class cricket rather than just thinking about playing in the Indian Premier League (IPL).

The Kerala Under-19 cricket team for the Vinoo Mankad Trophy has eight players who have all trained at the Sports Authority of India's cricket coaching centre at the Medical College ground in Thiruvananthapuram. At the centre, it was Biju George who trained all of them.

"My ideal path for them is that they should play for India U-19 and then come and succeed in first-class cricket and then go to IPL. SAI has few coaches for cricket, we were recruited earlier. The boys here are very good. See, from where Hardik Pandya came from and where he is today. I believe out of these eight boys we have in the Kerala U-19 team, they will play for India," George told ANI.

He is also the childhood coach of Rajasthan Royals skipper Sanju Samson. When asked about the coaching process he follows at the SAI Centre, Biju George said: "We run this centre, we have been running it for the past ten years and it is absolutely free. The kids come around when they are 11-12 years old. Sanju Samson had come here when he was 11, he was training here till last to last year but he is training in Madras now. We try to deliberately target people who are from lower financial backgrounds. We target such people, but we have children from different backgrounds but we treat them equally.

"Sachin Baby who is playing for RCB currently hails from our SAI Centre, KM Asif (CSK) belonged to a lower financial background, he faced so many difficulties. He came to our centre and he kept on practicing, he played for Kerala and then he played the IPL. Anybody who comes here for coaching, we ask them for every detail and we try to provide every facility. We run the facility for 365 days and we do not take any holidays. We are functional on Sunday as well," he added.

The Vinoo Mankad Trophy is scheduled to take place from September 28 to October 29. The tournament will form part of the 2021-22 Indian domestic cricket season that was announced by the BCCI in July. (ANI)

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