Pratheek Palanethra - Founder of "freebowler" superthrower - the first non-electric bowling machine

In fact, KL Rahul, who plays international cricket for the Indian Men’s Cricket team, and I are cousins. Growing up, we played a lot of cricket together. Obviously, he was extremely good at what he was doing and therefore went on to make it to the biggest stage. I was focusing more on the academic side of things, but I always continued to associate myself with the game of cricket. I went on to represent various clubs and college teams and played professional cricket at the Zone and University levels. However, I always wished and believed that if I had access to such facilities and learnings, then I would have been able to perform and proceed a lot further with cricket.

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Madan Raj Rajagopal - Co-founder of Ludimos - Data-driven personalised online coaching

I was born in Dharmapuri, a remote village in the western part of the state of Tamil Nadu in South India. Like every child from India, I used to play a lot of street cricket. And once again, like everyone else, I have been a huge fan of Sachin Tendulkar since the age of 8. Because we did not have a television in our house, we would go and watch cricket wherever we could find a television. It was a communal tradition. During that time, India vs the West Indies was the most anticipated series. I would stay up till late at night to watch these test matches.

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Archie Schiller - Australia Cricket Co-Captain for the 2018 Boxing Day Test and leg-spinner

We are very open about it. We had tried for 2 and a half years to be able to have a child. And when you finally find out that you are pregnant, and are carrying full-term, you are on top of the world.
But then to find out that your son is critically ill, you just kind of stop on your tracks a little bit. The thought of “it has taken us so long and now our son is sick”, constantly entered our minds. But we have no choice but to be positive. It changed our world. When you live in a small community, everyone has an opinion about something. So, we had to reassure everyone that it is not a contagious disease. It is just bad luck. When we look back now, we are better people for it. We have a much better understanding of any sort of illness now. Before we were so oblivious to ill adults and children, but this has definitely opened our eyes.

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Paul Stewart - Former Indigenous Cricket Specialist with Cricket Australia

I am a proud Taungurung man and our traditional boundaries lie within Central Victoria. My relationship with cricket started through friends by playing backyard cricket, as most Australians do. Growing up, my idol was the great West Indian, Clive Lloyd. I had an obvious affinity to Lloyd since he was the only cricketer really that wore spectacles and I wore spectacles as well. I was a huge fan of the West Indies cricket team when I was young, but I did keep a keen eye on the Australian cricket team. I played cricket at both the junior and senior levels.

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Surinder Singh - Electoral Participation Officer at Sandwell Council and ECB Qualified cricket coach

My relationship with cricket started when I was about 5 years old. We used to live in a house with a long entrance. My parents bought me a plastic bat and ball and my two brothers and I spent hours playing cricket at the entrance. By the age of eleven, I played for my school and until the age of 16, I played cricket like most English youngsters at the local park. I was more of a viewer and cricketing enthusiast but did not involve and engage myself any further.

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Jock Campbell - Founder of Jock Athletic and former Head of Strength and Conditioning for Australian Men's National Cricket Team

I have been involved with the game of cricket since I was 10-11 years old. As with most Australians, the summer of cricket was the most anticipated part of the year and I grew up wanting to play for Australia. But I quickly figured out that I was not good enough. I loved playing all sports through school and it was my parents who planted the seed by encouraging me to take up a very new course called Sports Science, which was not as well known as it is now. I remember saying to my dad, that I will try it for a year and if I do not like it then I will transfer to Physical Education. Since both my brothers had pulled out of university previously, my dad said, “You will not. You will finish it.”

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Avideh Gilani - Iran National Female Cricketer and fast-bowler

When it comes to money, facilities or equipment, it generally gets channelled to men’s sports first. We do not have any special tournaments or events in Iran. We only have one chance in a year at a tournament that is hosted by different cities in Iran. We have more than 12 cities in Iran that play cricket but unfortunately, there is a massive shortage of coaches, facilities and equipment. You cannot even find cricket balls in our country, This is incredibly sad. We have many talented women in cricket in our country. However, there is no pathway for these women to further their cricket. If enough time is spent to nurture them then I am certain that we can definitely be one of the best teams in Asia and if not, the world. 

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Arjun Nair - Sydney Thunder and NSW all-rounder

My parents came to Australia in 1997 from the coastal state of Kerala in the Southwest of India. I was born in 1998 in Canberra. It was inevitable that cricket became part of my DNA, especially when my roots are deeply immersed in these two proud cricketing nations. I have not been back to Kerala for eight years; however, cricket was the reason I returned to India in 2016 for the MRF Cricket academy in Chennai.

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Aaron Dragwidge - Diversity and Inclusions Specialist - Cricket Australia

"I grew up in a family who loved cricket, I must have spent well over a thousand hours playing backyard cricket predominantly with my Dad, brother and nephews as a kid. My Mum signed me up to play at the club across the road from my house when I was eight years of age, so I’ve always been very passionate about the game. I went on to play ten years of Premier Cricket at two clubs whilst working in various roles at RACV, an insurance company in Melbourne for over 10 years. I was enjoying life, but something wasn’t quite right. After a while I realized that I needed to do something more meaningful and work in a field I was more passionate about.   

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Melissa Hale - Deaf Cricketer - Victoria/Australia

“I am a proud Deaf woman. I use a cochlear implant so I can hear to some degree and use my voice to communicate and I’m also fluent in Australian sign language. I am married to a proud Deaf man, James and combined, we have four children. James has twin 13-year-old boys, my two stepsons, and I have a 12 year-old boy and a 9 year-old girl. So, we are a very big family! I work full time as the coordinator of the Disability Advocacy Resource Unit which supports and provides training to 24 different disability advocacy organisations across Victoria. And like all of you, I am crazy about cricket.

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