Eye-opening sights await touring cricketers

GEORGE HEAGNEY
Last updated 12:00 25/09/2012

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The Palmerston North Boys' High School first XI's tour of India and South Africa won't just be about cricket.

The 18-strong playing squad leaves tomorrow for India and will play 10 matches on their 3 -week trip.

In India, a true cricketing mecca, they play one-day matches against Imtiaz Ahmed Cricket Academy, Gopalan National School and St Bede's Anglo-Indian Higher Secondary School.

"Probably what could be the highlight of the trip on Sunday is taking a train to Chennai," teacher in charge Paul Gibbs said. "By all accounts it could be a bit of an eye-opener. One of the reasons why we're doing it, one of the reasons for touring, is to expose the kids to different ways of life."

Boys' High staff members Gibbs, Mike Taiuru and Mark Leighton, as well as a few parents, are also going on the trip.

Gibbs said they would be a bit cocooned in their tour party but the six nights in India would be interesting.

"It will be a full-on life experience and that's good. We're all going to be out of our comfort zone a wee bit. We discussed it, with the prices going to make it reasonably expensive. But you can't put a dollar value on that."

It will also give them an idea of what it's like touring the subcontinent for future sojourns.

Black Caps all-rounder and former Boys' High student Jacob Oram helped Gibbs with a contact in Chennai after Oram's time there with his old team, the Chennai Super Kings in the Indian Premier League.

It will be the school's fifth time to Africa and this time they will play Rondebosch Boys' High School, Bishops Diocesan College, Durban High School, Northwood School, St Stithians Boys' College, Menlo Park High School and St Alban's College.

It will be a challenging tour but the lads were looking forward to it.

"The senior boys have exams at the moment," Gibbs said. "They'll be reading their exam results and then be thinking cricket."

Thirteen of the squad were in the first XI for the first half of this year and the other five are new to the side, with all players guaranteed six or seven games each.

The last time the school toured South Africa was in 2007 and they have been to Queensland in Australia twice since then.

They were to send a team to South Africa in 2010 but it coincided with the football World Cup which would have made the trip too expensive.

Touring squad: Matthew Wells, Tiago Jahufer, Scott Mitchell, Tom Wilson, Isaac Harris, Arana Noema-Barnett, Sam Wilson, Cameron Rowe, Navin Patel, Hayden Hill, Jack Leenards, Anu Ganugapati, Jamie Marshall, Hayden Spencer, James Fitch, Jack Gleeson, Jackson Gattsche, Tom O'Connor.

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