Rahul Vashishtha and Praveen Manhas share the same birthday and birth year.
Now, they share something else.
The two local cricket players have been invited by Cricket Canada to play in the national T20 tournament, beginning Wednesday in Toronto. This tournament is being used to select players for the national high-performance program and, potentially, the Canadian national team.
Vashishtha and Manhas, both 25, are among a dozen players from Quebec and Atlantic Canada who will join 15 from western Canada and 20 from Ontario at the tournament. The players will be divided into four teams to play in a round-robin competition under the eyes of the national selectors.
“I am very excited for this opportunity to represent Newfoundland and Labrador at this level. I will do my best to make the province proud, said Vashishtha, who has been a dominant player in local cricket since he moved here four years ago.
A powerful batsman, he was the most valuable at last year’s Eastern Canadian championships and took part in the national high-performance camp two years ago. He is in the final year of a business administration degree at Memorial.
Manhas’s strength is in his bowling. The lefthander is not only an effective wicket-taker, but has also been an accomplished student. Like Vashishtha, he’s a Memorial University product, having completed a master’s degree in oil and gas engineering there earlier this year.
The two have been named to Newfoundland and Labrador’s team for the Eastern Canadian T20 championships in Montreal next month and are also members of the Avengers, who sit in first place with an undefeated record in the Cricket NL Summer League and are also the reigning Fall and Winter league champions.
The Avengers also took the title in the 2017 Summer League, with Vashishtha being named league MVP and Manhas selected as the best emerging player.
“Both players are very talented and are top performers at the local level as well as in inter-provincial competition,” said Cricket NL president and coach Dave Liverman. “This gives them the opportunity to find out just how good they are by pitting their talents against players with national and international experience.”