SINGAPORE – Growing up, Anglo-Chinese School (Independent)’s Kiaan Shah idolised Australian cricket legend Shane Warne, one of the sport’s best leg-spin bowlers of all time.
On Wednesday, the 13-year-old used the technique he had picked up from watching Warne, who died in 2022, to help ACS(I) beat Raffles Institution by nine wickets in the National School Games C Division cricket final at the Singapore Cricket Club’s Dempsey Field.
Kiaan, who took four out of the nine wickets that RI lost, was delighted with his performance, which enabled his team to win their sixth consecutive title.
He said: “I feel very happy because I didn’t expect that. There was so much pressure in the final but, after I took four wickets, I was really ecstatic and jubilant.”
Leg spin is a type of bowling technique in cricket. It involves the bowler using his right arm to deliver the ball, with the ball spinning from right to left after bouncing on the pitch.
RI, who won the toss and elected to bat first, scored 67 for nine in 20 overs. ACS(I) hit 68 in 14.2 overs for an easy victory.
Kiaan was introduced to the sport by his father when he was eight. After watching Warne shatter records and become the bowler who took the second most wickets in Test cricket history, he was determined to follow his idol’s style.
He explained: “I was inspired by him to become a leg spinner, it fascinated me how the ball can just spin so perfectly every time he does it, so I decided to pick up (the technique).”
And it has certainly paid off for him and the team, with coach Sarika Siva Prasad highlighting the impact Kiaan brings to the team.
The 63-year-old said: “When he first came into the team, I told him you’re going to be my match winner.
“This little boy is a fantastic bowler and every game he’s called upon, he has performed for me.”
The Secondary 1 student added: “From the start, coach Sarika… told me I would be the game changer in the final.
“He advises me to… focus on giving (my) best. This has helped me raise my confidence level.”
Even though the 1.55m Kiaan is small in build, his playing style suited Prasad’s game strategy perfectly.
The coach said: “In the second half, I told the boys to believe in themselves and look to take wickets because if we do that the pressure’s on (RI) as they’re not leading by that many runs.
“The plan really worked. They kept losing wickets, which did not help them at all.”
In the first half, RI batted first before ACS(I). RI recorded 46 runs while the latter made 38.
However, in the second period, RI lost control as the nine wickets that they conceded affected their confidence and they totalled just 67 runs.
RI captain Arush Kappala, who scored 32 runs, revealed that their heads dropped when they started losing wickets in quick succession.
The 14-year-old said: “Against ACS(I), the problem is that we are always under pressure, because they are a very good team. I think that shouldn’t affect us, but it did.”
ACS(I) needed just 30 runs in 10 overs to seal their victory, and the team duly delivered in just 4½ overs to spark wild celebrations on the field.
Captain Vihaan Chaturvedi, 14, had the most runs for ACS(I) with 31. He had earlier scored 50 in the preliminary stage against RI on July 31 as his team beat their opponents by 60 runs.
He said: “I was confident because of the runs I scored in the preliminary stages, but I told the team every game is different. We should give our best to overcome any challenges.”
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