Rajesh Pundir the man behind the Slum cricket foundation is trying hard to give slum cricket a legacy. Mr. Pundir trying hard with the players so that someday these boys Play for India.
How much guidance is needed to play like a professional?
“Just watch these youngsters play,” he says, “they’re no less than professionals.” “All they need is guidance and support.”
Started on the way?
Mr. Pundir began doing social work seven years ago and established the Community Foundation Charitable Trust, a non-governmental organization, two years ago to help underprivileged women and children.
Aim of Mr. Pundir?
We are now planning to organize an all-India slum cricket league, and preparations are underway.
How many students played SCL and received cricket coaching?
So far, over 750 students between the ages of 14 and 16 have participated in SCL, and over 170 youngsters have received free cricket coaching at our various academies in Delhi.
“However, due to Covid, everything was put on hold.”
The first stage was held in South Delhi, where 15 teams from various slums participated; the second stage was held in North Delhi, where about 13 teams from various slums fulfilled their dream of playing professional cricket.
The third west Delhi chapter had 11 teams from various slums in west Delhi, and the fourth central Delhi chapter included 10 teams from central Delhi (The values above are approximations; they are not exact figures).
Talk about the Knock-out matches?
We had organized a few slum knockout matches, one of which was between English students from Mont Forte University and our SCL players, and another in DPS Yamuna Nagar, where 16 teams from various states and top schools competed, and our SCL team came in third, a remarkable victory and exposure for these poor kids. “It wasn’t a concept; it was a dream to train slum kids how to play cricket.”
What do you think of Cricket In India?
“In India, cricket is a religion, and cricket players are gods.”
“All you have to do is teach them, and they’ll show you what they’re capable of,” Mr. Pundir adds. Even in India, where cricket is a big deal, it’s difficult to understand.
The story of Dharavi?
Dharavi is a busy place for business and is full of people who want to start their own things. It’s a huge symbol of pure capitalism, but dreamers can feel safe there. You don’t move from your hometown to a slum unless you want something.
People come to Dharavi from all over India in search of work, money to send home, and a better future for themselves.
They have kids and try to give them a good education. Their kids are crazy about cricket and Sachin Tendulkar, who is known as the “Little Master” and is India and Mumbai’s hero because he has scored more runs in Tests and one-day internationals than anyone else.
Disclaimer: The interview and insights expressed in this article are those of the author. This article was not written or edited by Empireweekly.com; it was published on June 28, 2022.