Sydney Thunder’s HomeWorld Thunder Nation Heroes initiative saw the club connect with hundreds of fans from right across the world to celebrate a shared love for cricket.
The online search was open for men and women from abroad, with two winners selected by Sydney Thunder players and coaches.
One of the winners was Ganesh Mane from India. He received a full cricket kit, including a new bat, pads and gloves, to help him continue his cricket journey.
1. What does it mean to have your skills recognised by Shane Bond?
GM: I am so thankful to Shane Bond for his encouragement to my bowling skills. It gives me great confidence and self-belief to know that my hard work is being recognised. It inspires me to continue my journey and keep working hard to fulfill my dream. It is very inspiring for me to be encouraged by the great fast bowler like Shane Bond for my bowling skills. I will always be grateful to both Sydney Thunder and Shane Bond.
2. Can you tell us about where you play cricket, who you play with and why you love the sport?
I live in a small town called Jaysingpur. I used to travel to Sangli, the nearest city, to practice in the nets of one of the clubs at Shivaji Stadium with two of my friends in that club.
For more opportunities, I decided to move to Mumbai. I decided to join Warriors Cricket Club in Mumbai and play cricket with them. Due to some financial difficulties, it was not easy for me to shift to Mumbai immediately. I had two practice sessions with the Warriors and for both the practice sessions, I travelled from my hometown, Jaysingpur, to Mumbai which is about 388kms because I was yet to find a place to live in Mumbai. Travelling a long distance every time was difficult for me.
When I was about to move to Mumbai to play matches with the Warriors, the COVID-19 pandemic started, and cricket in Mumbai was completely stopped so, I had to stay in my hometown.
But then me being recognised by Sydney Thunder and Shane Bond appreciating and encouraging my bowling skills was a great thing for me. His encouragement will always inspire me and be really helpful to me in my journey ahead.
When this pandemic situation gets better, I will move to Mumbai to join Warriors Cricket Team and play matches with them.
I have always loved cricket since childhood, and I am so passionate for playing cricket. Cricket is a game of great uncertainties. It brings people together and we make many friends while playing. It brings great joy and brings happiness to me while playing. Cricket means a lot to me. Cricket is a ray of hope in my life and I love this beautiful game.
3. How will this donation of equipment help you on your cricket journey?
I thank Sydney Thunder for the cricket kit given to me. I didn't have all the equipment before. I used to borrow equipment from my other teammates while playing matches so now having my own cricket kit will definitely help me a lot. It will help me to get batting practice as well as bowling practice.
4. What encouragement would you give young cricketers about following their dreams?
I would say to young cricketers that believe in your dreams and work hard to achieve them. Believe in your abilities and skills, and put all your efforts into the game. With hard work and self-belief, you can achieve your dreams.