Sometimes, sport is not a leisure activity, but a vista to get away from all the negativity in one’s life. So many times have cricketers and other sportsmen used the sport as a way to get away from poverty and other setbacks in their lives to triumph.
Indian cricket is replete with stories of players who have battled the odds to make it big. Here are some of the biggest inspirational stories:
India’s main strike bowler at the moment, Umesh Yadav has a story that will inspire many. Yadav was born in a poor family near Vidarbha and had to work in a coal mine in order to support his family. His biggest dream at the time was to become a successful police officer.
However, destiny had other plans for him and he was selected for a bowling camp after impressing in a trial. He focussed all of his energy into becoming a fast bowler and has not looked back since then. He even gifted his father a house of his own.
The Nawab of Najafgarh is known for his funny and witty attitude during and after his career but his story would make you wonder where all that comes from. Sehwag was raised in a massive joint family with 50 members and would never have become a cricketer had his father gotten his way.
However, he persevered, and travelled nearly 84 kilometres every single day to practice. His father wanted him to take care of the wheat business but Sehwag dreamt of playing with his idol Sachin. He soon got picked for the Indian squad and forged one of the most successful partnerships with Sachin Tendulkar and made himself a legend of the game.
The Turbanator, who went on to have a successful career with the Indian team for more than a decade never had the smoothest ride to the top. He was picked to represent the Indian team in 1998 but was dropped because he did not perform well. His time in the wilderness of domestic cricket lasted a painful three years.
During this time, his father passed away and he had to shoulder the responsibility of his family. He was very close to moving to Canada and becoming a truck driver but the 2001 Australian series happened where he was recalled and scripted one of the greatest Test wins ever, and he has not looked back since.
Probably the biggest rags-to-riches story in Indian cricket, Munaf Patel still lives in the same small village he grew up in, as a mark of respect to the ones who helped shape his career. He would work in a tire factory and would practice cricket in the local grounds wearing only slippers. A villager saw his obvious talent and gifted him a pair of shoes.
They recommended him to Vadodara’s cricket club from where he was selected to the MRF Pace Academy. Dennis Lillee, the director of the academy was very impressed with Munaf’s development that he recommended him to Steve Waugh, who in turn spoke to Sachin who spoke to the selectors to make Munaf’s dream come true.
Irfan and Yusuf Pathan:
The two brothers have one of the most inspirational stories in Indian cricket. They were extremely poor and could not afford even a house. They had to stay in a mosque and manage with their father’s very meagre salary of just Rs.250. Their father would take torn shoes and stitch them to provide to his children.
The children also travelled miles on their cycle for practice and would be very exhausted at the end of the day. Fast forward a few years later and they have both been part of World Cup winning squads.
By Rohit Nair