Odia boy to wear Hong Kong colours in World Cup

Anshuman Rath set for debut in T20 tournament in India next year

By Namita Panda in Bhubaneshwar
  • Published 22.09.15
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Anshuman Rath in action
during a match in Hong Kong

Bhubaneswar, Sept. 21: Odia boy Anshuman Rath, a key member of the Hong Kong national team, is all set to play in India during the 2016 T20 World Cup.

A wicketkeeper-batsman, Rath is better known as Anshy among his teammates. His parents hail from Satyanagar in Bhubaneswar.

The youngster has been playing cricket since the age of four. "My father is passionate about cricket. When I was four, he brought me a bat and a ball, and that was how the journey started. By the time I was eight, I joined the cricket-training course at the University of Hong Kong's Stanley Ho Sports Centre. Most of my vacations are spent in training for the sport," said Rath via online chat. He often visits the cricket academies in Australia to hone his batting skills.

The cricketer owes everything to his father, who, according to him, has a big role behind his success. The constant support and encouragement from him have helped a lot, said Rath.

He started as a member of the Under-16 squad for Hong Kong at the age of 12 and within two years became the captain in 2012.

"As an Indian living in Hong Kong, I'm proud that I'm playing cricket at the international level. After all, it's the sport most people in my home country are in love with," said Rath.

"My father has been immensely supportive and takes out time off his busy schedule to watch almost every match I play. Though my mother doesn't find the sport very interesting, she still tries to watch some of them. My parents and sister even travel overseas to support me," he said.

Anshuman's parents had shifted to Hong Kong in the late nineties for business purpose. He was born and brought up there. However, the family keeps visiting Odisha frequently and Anshuman not only converses fluently in Odia, but also loves to visit his hometown Bhubaneswar.

"I love the food and the culture of Odisha. I find it very rich and interesting," he said.

With the big tournament scheduled next year, the youngster is training as much as he can, so that he can give his best.

"You don't get chances like this very often. I wish to make the best of the opportunity. I also look forward to meeting all the international players and especially the Indian team. I wish I can get tips from Yuvraj Singh, who is a legendary player in T20 format," said Rath.

Anshuman made his One Day international debut for Hong Kong on November 8, 2014 against Papua New Guinea in Australia. So far in his brief career, he has played for Hong Kong, Harrow School, Hong Kong Under-16, Middlesex 2nd XI, Middlesex Under-17, Middlesex Under-19.

Rath's impressive wicket keeping and consistent batting helped his team to qualify for the T20 World Cup during the qualifiers played in July. The cricketer will be arriving in India in March 2016.

The Raths' relatives here are excited to know that their boy would be playing in India. "It feels great that he is playing at the international level," said Bhanu Prakash, a family friend here.