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Local youngster Viraj Gandhi enjoyed challenge against the England women’s team recently in day/night match

PUBLISHED: 11:00 06 October 2017

Viraj Gandhi (left) alongside former England captain Kevin Pietersen (pic: Atul Gandhi).

Viraj Gandhi (left) alongside former England captain Kevin Pietersen (pic: Atul Gandhi).

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Woodford Wells teenager was part of five Essex Performance Programme players involved in game at Chelmsford last month

Viraj Gandhi (left) alongside Nasser Hussain (pic: Atul Gandhi). Viraj Gandhi (left) alongside Nasser Hussain (pic: Atul Gandhi).

Woodford Wells youngster Viraj Gandhi recently played against the England women’s team in a day/night match at Essex’s County Ground.

The teenager, who is part of the Essex Performance Programme, featured in the three-day contest last month and played for the Emeralds against the Sapphire side, which was made up of England women’s regulars.

It was arranged to give the England women’s team some extra preparation in day/night conditions ahead of the Ashes series, which starts later this month – October 22.

Gandhi was one of five Essex PP players involved in the Emeralds side with the rest of the XI made up of England women’s academy players.

The talented Woodford Wells all-rounder didn’t bowl in the contest with the coaches looking to try out the academy players, but did manage to score 19 in the first innings, which was the joint-second top scorer.

Sapphire scored 190 first up and Emeralds replied with 134 before Sapphire then made 191 in the second innings.

It set Emeralds 247 to win, but rain stopped play meaning the contest ended up as a draw, but Gandhi was thrilled to play his part.

He said: “I really enjoyed playing in the longer format and especially batting and fielding under floodlights.

“It was an amazing experience to play with and against world champions. I think women’s cricketers are very talented and skilful.”

Although Ghandi didn’t get a chance to bowl, he did relish the opportunity to bat at six in the first innings.

He batted under the floodlights and admitted it was difficult, but was happy to make a signifcant total.

“It was extremely difficult to bat because the ball was swinging all over the place,” said Gandhi.

“The England women bowlers were very consistent and showed great skill, but it was an amazing experience.

“I had never played a day/night long format match under flood lights before.”

Gandhi played in the same team as Sophie Ecclestone, who earned a call-up to the England squad for the Ashes tour and he’ll now hope to see his former team-mate go on to achieve success in Australia.

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