Saurabh Netravalkar leads Team USA in T20 World Cup amid Oracle career

Coming off a shocking win against the Pakistani national cricket team, a young Team USA is on the rise in the cricket world. This week, after a scheduled match against Ireland was rained out, USA advanced to the second round of the T20 World Cup for the first time. 

At the helm of this explosive success is Saurabh Netravalkar, a 32-year-old bowler who, while leading Team USA to triumphs, has kept his full-time day job as a principal engineer at the tech giant Oracle. He’s been known to bring his laptop to the stadium, taking work calls and coding when he has a moment between matches, according to The Athletic.

“Congrats @USACricket on a historic result,” Oracle posted on X. “Proud of the team and our very own engineering and cricket star.”

Netravalkar was born in Mumbai, India, and played for the country’s junior leagues growing up. He rubbed elbows with many players who grew up to be India’s next cricket stars. But when that didn’t work out for him, The Associated Press reported, he came to the U.S., got a masters at Cornell University in 2015 and settled in the Bay Area.  

“The Indian uncles were right this whole time,” one cricket fan tweeted after the USA-India match. “‘First get masters in US and become engineer beta, then you play cricket.’”

Almost a decade later, he now is a star player on a team largely composed of expats from India, Pakistan and the West Indies. When facing his birth country on Wednesday, Netravalkar’s strong bowling toppled two star Indian players, Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma. Though Team USA ultimately lost, his bowling is credited with turning around its performance.

Indian cricket fans all over the world have taken to Netravalkar, even suggesting that he should be recruited by the Indian Premier League at the next player auction, which is set to take place in 2025.

Netravalkar himself has been enjoying the attention and memes about his day job. 

“Wish I could personally thank each and every one of you!” he posted on Instagram. “From the friends and family who’ve seen me grow around cricket in India to the well wishers in the United States who are learning about cricket here now. Glad to see so many of you connecting to my engineering background as well.”

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