In the vast world of cricket, there is a heartwarming story that reminds us of the global bonds the sport can create. Meet Jun Yu, a young cricket enthusiast from Beijing, China who recently embarked on a journey that would make any cricket fan smile. His goal? Hangzhou to catch a glimpse of his cricket idol Smriti Mandhana, the vice-captain of the Indian women’s cricket team.
Jun Yu’s fascination with cricket began like many of us, lost in the depths of YouTube’s treasure trove of cricket videos. It didn’t take long for him to become mesmerized by the sheer artistry of legends like Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli and of course Smriti Mandhana. Her exceptional skills and unbridled passion for the game ignited a spark in Yu and forced him to delve deeper into the world of cricket.
In a country where cricket is still a niche sport, Yu shared that his university in Beijing offered cricket classes, which gave him a basic understanding of the game. He revealed that cricket has not gained much popularity in China as there are few venues and players. The field where he watched Mandhana in action was once a picturesque flower garden that was converted into a cricket pitch for the Asian Games.
Yu’s admiration for the sport of cricket knows no bounds. While he holds Sachin Tendulkar in high regard as a cricketing legend, his personal favorite is New Zealander Kane Williamson. Yu, who is currently pursuing a master’s degree in zoology in Beijing, expressed his deep admiration for both cricketers.
Jun Yu’s unwavering commitment to cricket led him to embark on a remarkable 1,200 kilometer journey from Beijing to Hangzhou just to witness the sport he loves and the cricketer he idolizes. He attended a match at the Pingfeng cricket field, even though it did not have the amenities of a proper cricket stadium.
SEE ALSO: Indian women’s cricket team creates history with gold at Asian Games; Social media celebrates triumph
Despite his great passion for the game, Yu was unable to join India’s men’s cricket team at the Asian Games due to academic commitments. He acknowledged the sacrifices he made in terms of both travel expenses and academic responsibilities to achieve his dream of experiencing cricket first-hand.
Smriti Mandhana said: “I had tears in my eyes when the national flag was hoisted during the national anthem – this is very special, we saw when Neeraj Chopra won.” [ANI] #AsianGames #IndiaAtAsianGames #INDvSL
– ICT Fan (@Delphy06) September 25, 2023
A Smriti Mandhana fan in Hangzhou, China. pic.twitter.com/eE3VOEjiQr
— Mufaddal Vohra (@mufaddal_vohra) September 26, 2023
Jun Yu’s presence in the audience, along with several Indian fans proudly waving their national flag and cheering on their team, demonstrated the unifying power of cricket that transcends geographical boundaries. For Navneet Singh, an Indian living on the outskirts of Hangzhou, the event was a unique opportunity to introduce cricket to his friends and neighbors, creating a rare moment of cricket camaraderie in China.
In a time of global connectivity, cricket’s universal appeal continues to bridge cultures and touch the hearts of enthusiasts like Jun Yu. Their willingness to go the extra mile is, quite literally, an example of the magic that cricket and its heroes can inspire in people across the world.
Source : in.mashable.com