The success story of B. Punnaiah, the pacer who made an impressive Ranji debut against Bengal, is another example of a young talent defying all odds to make a mark.

The 18-year-old Punnaiah, son of Anjaneyulu whose livelihood is selling ‘seconds’ wooden doors and mother Polamma is a domestic help, fine-tuned his raw skills at the Rama Naidu Cricket Academy here under the tutelage of Naresh before he caught the attention of the HCA selectors.

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Like many kids, he started playing the sport with a tennis ball in the streets of Kukatpally here. The 5-foot, 11-inch tall Punnaiah first played for Deccan Blues in 2016 and later on for the MP Colts.

But, what made the selectors take note of his abundance of talent was when he picked 22 wickets for Hyderabad under-19 including a five-wicket haul against Mumbai on debut (five for 92 in Mumbai) and then five for 19 against Kerala in Kerala.

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With former Andhra Ranji captain and the former BCCI junior selection panel chairman V. Chamundeswaranath extending complete support - including providing kits, presenting him an electric scooter - this young talent had the liberty to work really hard.

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“It was a great feeling to make a Ranji debut (two for 32 and one for 3) which honestly I never expected it would be so soon. But, the experience also reminded me that my current standard is not just enough as I dream big of playing for India one day,” said the pacer, who is a huge fan of Bhuvaneshwar Kumar and South African pacer Kasigo Rabada. Punnaiah claimed four for 35 and two for 41 in his second match against Baroda which Hyderabad won.

“Unfortunately, with Hyderabad not making it to the next phase in Ranji Trophy, my next big thing can be a training stint in National Cricket Academy (Bengaluru),” he concluded.