Dream School of Cricket: Creating cricketers from underprivileged areas of Birbhum

Dream School of Cricket, a cricket coaching centre from Rampurhat, Birbhum helping underprivileged kids fulfil their dream of playing cricket.

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Dream School of Cricket: Creating cricketers from underprivileged areas of Birbhum

Dream School of Cricket | Sportz Point
Dream School of Cricket, a cricket coaching centre from Rampurhat, Birbhum helping underprivileged kids fulfil their dream of playing cricket.

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Cricket is obviously the most loved and watched sport in India. Though everyone in India plays cricket, not everyone gets the opportunity to play the sport professionally. Moreover, if you are coming from a distant village in a district like Birbhum the chances become least of making it to the professional level. That is when few people or organizations come up and change the future of those areas through hard work and lots of investment. Dream school of cricket, run by Bengal cricketer Sumanta Gupta and Avijit Mondal does that in Rampurhat, Birbhum.

Sumanta was one of the very few people from Birbhum to play for Bengal, but with lots of difficulties. Though his father was one of the backbones of his career, many from his place did not have the luck of having supportive and sporting parents like him. Sumanta had to suffer a lot of difficulties coming from 220km away from Kolkata. But, after making it to the professional level, he did not want that the next generation from his hometown and district to face the same amount of difficulties that he faced.

That is why he planned to make a “professional cricket coaching camp” in Rampurhat, Birbhum along with Avijit Mondal. However, the road was not easy at the start. Sumanta could not even get the ground he needed for the camp. Even the sub-division sports association did not stand by his side at that time.

At that time it was Jaikrishnapur Sports Association who came up and helped them with the ground they needed. “We are very much thankful to them. Without their support, we could not even start the camp here. They helped us with the ground. Moreover, they allowed us to set the ground the way we wanted,” said Avijit Mondal the co-founder of Dream School of Cricket. In addition, they had the support of former India cricketer, Manoj Tiwary and Abhijit Ganguly from the early stage as well. Md. Mohim also helped them with nets and other accessories in the beginning.

Manoj Tiwary at the inaugural ceremony of Dream School of Cricket. Image – Facebook/DSC

Read Also: “I feel my journey so far has made me tough,” says Sumanta Gupta who now wants to win trophies for Bengal

Since then, the camp has been through ups and downs a lot. The lockdown had a great impact on the just-started camp. However, both Avijit and Sumanta had the belief that if they keep on giving the infrastructure every student needs, the boys will come.

“When we had started the camp, we had only one goal in mind; to give the kids practice and infrastructure like first-class cricket. We knew if we can produce that, the boys will eventually come. And, that happened as well,” added Avijit.

Dream School of Cricket has everything that a cricketer would need in his journey to become a cricketer. From modern-age bowling machines to Astro turfs; they have everything ready for every kind of practice. Both Sumanta and Avijit took everything to Rampurhat from Kolkata just to give a world-class practice to all the students.

“I did not have everything of this when I was growing up. Luckily my father had an understanding of cricket, which helped me. But, this place does not have the infrastructure to succeed at the club level or first-class level. So, we wanted to give everything to these kids through the camp. Everything that I learn from Bengal camps, I try to teach those things to them as well,” told Sumanta Gupta in an exclusive interview with Sportz Point.

Read Also: “The dream is still the same, to play Ranji Trophy for Bengal,” Avijit Mondal after saving Belgachia United from relegation

Anil Gupta, Sumanta Gupta’s father has seen everything in the Birbhum district when it comes to cricket. He not only wanted to see his son flourishing as a cricketer but wanted to see every talented cricketer from the district make their names in cricket. He was and is still one of the strategists and backbones of Dream School of cricket.

“Sumanta struggled a lot during his early days. I always wanted to see more players from here make their names. Somehow the infrastructure was not there. But, now, I feel this camp has the capability of producing a few great players. Coaches are very hardworking here and most important, the guardians feel their kids are in safe hands here. The progress has been great. I am hopeful that the dream school of cricket will help many kids fulfil their dream,” Anil Gupta told Sportz Point.

Along with him, the guardians are delighted with their kids’ progress as well. “The infrastructure is great. Moreover, the coaches are very hardworking as well. We have won a few big tournaments as well. Few were in the Bengal U-16 camp too. Some players are also playing for second-division and Under-18 clubs in Kolkata as well. Avijit sir helps the kids whenever they go to Kolkata. He manages their food and lodging,” said one of the guardians of students of the camp.

Along with Sumanta and Avijit, three other coaches manage the camp whenever both of them are not available in the camp. Krishnendu Bhuimali, one of the coaches in the camp, remembers the early days in the camp and how they have evolved into one of the best cricket coaching camps in the district.

“The early days were tough. But we were always with Sumanta (Gupta) da. He has arranged everything for the kids along with Avijit da. We as a coach focuses on making these kids disciplined. We part our duties to focus on each and every player here. As we grew in number, we separated the batches as well just to give proper attention to every kid,” said Krishnendu.

Read Also: “Working on my mental strength,” Abishek Porel now wants to play all formats for Bengal

Md. Ramiul Hasan, another coach in the camp believes that they have all the basic and advanced things to make Dream School of Cricket one of the best camps. Ramiul works with the young budding bowlers and shares his experience of playing cricket as well. He feels they have been successful in making the boys fit and strong. They even introduced Yoga to help the kids build more mental strength.

Kids are practising Yoga in the Dream School of Cricket.
Kids are practising Yoga in the Dream School of Cricket.

“The biggest achievement for us has been the faith of the guardians. They have started to believe that kids so far from Kolkata can go there and do well. Yes, there is no limit to improvement but they believe that their kids are in good hands. Despite being on the outskirts of the town, guardians are happy to bring their kids to us. This motivates us to work harder with the kids,” said Ramiul.

Mir Nasir Ali (Santo) is another coach in the Dream School of Cricket. He himself was one of the most renowned cricketers of Rampurhat and Bimbhum. Though with the tough circumstances he could not make it to the highest level, he helps the camp and students with the tons of experience he has in cricket.

Both Sumanta and Avijit now want to forget about the struggle they have done to keep the dream alive. They now only want to focus on the bright future the camp has. However, both of them urge the sub-division sports association to give proper chances to keepable players to play for the district team.

“Sometimes the selections are not on point. Not from our camp, we want every talented player should get their chance. Otherwise, they will get demoralized. Even the parents will get demotivated as well. As here district cricket is the major first step in a cricketing career, we want that they should give proper chances to all the talented kids,” Sumanta Gupta expressed.

With everything running smoothly now, Sumanta feels the financial conditions of the parents of many kids sometimes oppose their cricketing dreams. But, both Sumanta and Avijit are determined to provide everything from bats to kits to these boys to make their cricketing journey easier.

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