Gune Atharva Rahul (ACS(I), cricket)

ACS(I)'s Gune Atharva Rahul's meticulous preparation helps team topple defending champions Raffles in cricket final

Gune Atharva Rahul and his younger brother are carrying on the family's cricket tradition. The 16-year-old's late grandfather had played the sport and passed it on to his father, who now trains the two boys. ST PHOTO: ZHANG XUAN
Gune Atharva Rahul and his younger brother are carrying on the family's cricket tradition. The 16-year-old's late grandfather had played the sport and passed it on to his father, who now trains the two boys. ST PHOTO: ZHANG XUAN

'Go-to man' takes 3 wickets in single over to help team topple defending champs RI

The week before the Schools National A Division boys' cricket final in May, Anglo-Chinese School (Independent)'s Gune Atharva Rahul spent hours watching video analysis of his team's previous two matches against Raffles Institution.

The night before, the 16-year-old scribbled away on a piece of paper, which he brought onto the field at the Ceylon Sports Club.

That note was critical as the bowler took three wickets in the fourth over, as ACS(I) scored 140-5 in 20 overs before restricting title holders RI to 130-9.

"I had a plan before the match. I planned everything - what I was going to do with each ball that I was going to bowl. I had it all written on paper," he recalled. "It was my second ball which got their key batsman, who had been in sublime form throughout the tournament.

"He scored a lot of runs against us, but I had taken note of his weak points when he played against us and other schools."

It was sweet revenge for Atharva and ACS(I), who were beaten twice by RI during the preliminary phase.

Ahead of the rematch in the final, ACS(I) captain Ishaan Paul Sawney gave a speech to his team.

"Our captain was telling each of us that we should carry out our responsibilities equally and that was crucial for us to push our limits and win the match," Atharva recalled.

For his performance, he has been named The Straits Times' Young Star of the Month, an award backed by 100Plus and given to school athletes who shone during the Schools Nationals this year.

The Year 5 student credited his family, friends and his coaches for his success in cricket.

He said: "Cricket is like a family tradition. My late grandfather used to play cricket. He later passed it on to my father and he passed it on to my younger brother and me.

"When I was in Primary 1, I used to play with my family at the field opposite our flat," he added.

"My younger brother is also a really good batsman. He is playing really well and is not afraid to give me tips. My dad trains me and my brother as well.

ST assistant sports editor Jonathan Wong said: "The level of meticulous preparation shown by Atharva is something we expect of a professional athlete and to see it in a student-athlete highlights the dedication and passion he has for cricket.

"It is a fine example to set for all budding athletes in Singapore. The willingness to work hard is itself a talent."

ACS(I) head coach Sarika Prasad, who has coached Atharva for nine years, said: "He is a very promising youngster even during his primary school days.

"Atharva is the go-to man when the team are in trouble and many of the players look up to him."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 27, 2019, with the headline 'He had it all figured out'. Print Edition | Subscribe