Cricket in India is far more than just being a bout of the bat and the ball. It is an informal religion where the Gods are tangible and Mount Olympus has even been kissed by unheralded monikers, even if the count has been very rare.
In one such story of Godly conquests, we will take you through the account of Chetan Sakariya, the kid who bowled an exceptional spell in his IPL debut against Punjab Kings to curtail them to an unexpected 220 where the commentators at one point in time were haggling for 240.
A star-studded line-up that comprised the likes of Mustafizur Rahman, Ben Stokes, Chris Morris and Rahul Tewatia was taken out like skittles in front of a canonball. The man who could manage to eke out a decent spell in the rubble of such expensive overs was a debutant, Chetan Sakariya. That final over which he bowled was nothing short of a gem that claimed the scalps of KL Rahul and Jhye Richardson and it only went for 5 runs wherein the overs preceding that were not going anything less than 10.
The commentators heaped a boatload of praises on the youngster, quoting how he came up with an extremely tight line and kept his composure under tremendous pressure, especially facing KL Rahul, a set batsman who was marauding the best of the lot.
Like the way the youngster left an exemplifying mark on his very debut with his inspiring brand of bowling, similarly his story of rise is an equally impressive one that will leave you misty-eyed, if not crying.
In an interview, his mom recounted the tale of how Chetan was battling his way in Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, when his elder brother committed suicide and his father was severly ill.
His mother quoted, “I hope nobody goes through the pain and struggles we went through. My second child, a son who was a year younger to Chetan, committed suicide a month ago. Chetan was playing the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy at that time, which he finished as the sixth-highest wicket-taker. We didn’t inform him about his brother’s death for the first 10 days as we didn’t want his game to be affected. All we told him was that his father wasn’t keeping well.
Every time Chetan would call to ask about his father’s health, he would ask us to make him speak to his brother. But I’d change the topic. I wouldn’t let him speak to his father too because I knew my husband would tell him the truth. But one day, I broke down on the call. After knowing of his brother’s death, Chetan didn’t speak to anybody for a week. Neither did he eat. The two brothers were very close.
A month after this tragedy, Chetan has bagged an IPL contract worth Rs. 1.20 crore. Sapna jehvu laage che (it feels like we are dreaming). We’ve struggled a lot financially.
Chetan’s father was a lorry driver, but he is bedridden now after meeting with three accidents and undergoing as many surgeries. He cannot earn any longer. He is yet to recover from our son’s suicide. Neither does he eat nor talk. I try my best to give him strength.
Growing up, Chetan worked at his maternal uncle’s stationery shop to make ends meet. Until five years ago, we didn’t even own a TV. My husband would get the news of Chetan’s progress in professional cricket from outside and then come home and inform us.
After my husband’s accident, my second child was the breadwinner of the family. But now, he is gone too. Amidst all this, Chetan’s IPL contract is a balm to our pain. The first thing he wants to do with the money is buy us a house in Rajkot.
I also contribute to the family income by doing stone work on sarees. When my children were small, I would leave them alone at home to go out and do embroidery. That money was used for their education.
Ever since Chetan’s IPL contract, the media has been calling us daily. We start getting calls from 8am. My son worked very hard for this.”
Though one game is way too early to call someone a hero but we all hope that Chetan Sakariya can live his dream and one fine day don on that Indian jersey to make his struggling parents proud.