Tamil Nadu cricketer Shahrukh Khan on Wednesday said that Junior Super Kings, which was started like a child in 2012, has grown big over the years, while inaugurating the Chennai phase of the seventh edition of the tournament.
Junior Super Kings is an inter-school championship conducted by Chennai Super Kings that was first launched in 2012 as a 32-team tournament. Since then, it has grown into a pan- Tamil Nadu tournament, unearthing talent from across the state.
Shahrukh, who had won the Player of the Tournament award in the 2012 Junior Super Kings, addressed the participating teams at PBEL City ground before spinning the coin at the toss.
"Ten years back I was one amongst you all standing here, and I remember Stephen Fleming had come for the first edition of the Junior Super Kings tournament and I had gone for the toss with him inside," he said.
"And now I am standing right here and a few years later some of you might be here and you might go for the toss as well. This tournament, what it has given us it started off like a child and today where it is now, it has grown big, he added.
The 27-year old cricketer went down the memory lane and shared his experiences of meeting the greats of the game and getting confidence from that. "A lot of guys from here have got the opportunity to even go and meet players up close.
When I was there, we had a Junior Super Kings camp after the final and I still remember Fleming, Faf du Plessis, Michael Hussey and Dwayne Bravo were there to have a look at one of our sessions," said Shahrukh in a media release.
"It gave me a bit of confidence to go ahead and do well in my U-19 games. So, when I did well in my U-19 games, I was there in the probables for the Indian team. And, these small moments here and there help us go ahead.
This tournament has given us a lot and I am standing here today and seeing all these teams, the way it has grown. We used to play at matting wickets and the first match that they are playing is at a turf wicket," he added.
The right-hander batter also had a message for the junior cricketers. "My message to the players - just be at the present guys. If you think too far ahead, you shut out half your instincts, and when you shut out your instincts, you will not be yourself on the ground.
If you think you have to play at the next level, your instincts go way ahead than what you are. Or if you think about your past when you have not done well, your instincts shut down. So the most important thing is to stay at the present," he said.
The 2022-23 edition of Junior Super Kings is an 86-team tournament played across 15 districts in Tamil Nadu: Chennai, Trichy, Villupuram, Coimbatore, Tiruppur, Salem, Erode, Vellore, Ranipet, Madurai, Dindigul, Tirunelveli, Tuticorin, Tenkasi and Kanyakumari.
The tournament, supported by Tamil Nadu Cricket Association and title-sponsored by Sairam Institutions, will be played in two phases. The first phase (December 26 to January 10) is being played in a knockout format across Chennai and other districts.
Two teams (winners and runners) from Chennai and six winners from other districts will play the second phase from January 18 to January 22 in Tirunelveli. The second phase will be in a league format and the final will be played under lights.