From Mohammed Siraj to Rinku Singh: 5 Indian cricketers and their story of struggle
A number of rookie cricketers have made a name for themselves by playing in the Indian Premier League. From gaining a new identity to rise in stardom, the tournament makes them rich overnight. However, it is their journey and struggle that is undoubtedly heartbreaking.
India has an abundance of cricketing talent. While most of them play domestic cricket, some of them are lucky to make their way into the most lucrative T20 league in the world, the Indian Premier League (IPL).
However, not all are as lucky. There are ample cricketers in the remote Indian villages, who possess immense talent but do not have enough resources to pursue the sport.
Especially being from low-income family background, some of the cricketers are deprived of a chance to fulfil their dreams. Nonetheless, we take a look at five such cricketers, who did manage to struggle and find their way to success.
Rinku Singh: The batsman from Uttar Pradesh plays for Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), having previously played for Kings XI Punjab (KXIP). Although he has been playing for UP since 2014, he had to struggle to find his place. He grew up in a tin-roofed two-room home, which consisted of eight family members. The room happened to be in the storage compound of an LPG distribution company. After his class 10 exams, he decided to pursue cricket, since it is where his heart was. With family in debut, his father used to sell LPG cylinders, while his brother drove an auto-rickshaw. Rinku had to contribute his part of earnings from the matches to his family. He once also gave away his bike as the Man of the Series award to his father. Nonetheless, his career has not been as successful yet.
Manzoor Dar: The all-rounder from Jammu and Kashmir began his career in 2017, as he represents KXIP in the IPL. Nonetheless, prior to that, he led a tough life. “I have studied up to Class 12th. Due to a financial crunch, I could not continue my studies. I worked as a labourer, and till date, I am engaged in furniture work. To make ends meet, I worked as a security guard for Tata Motors Pvt Ltd for Rs 2500/- per month,” he had once quoted to a local news agency.
T Natarajan: A popular name in the IPL, who had a tremendous season with Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) this term, finishing as their second-highest wicket-taker. Nonetheless, his success did not come easy. Before making his debut for Tamil Nadu in 2015, he led a challenging life, as his father used to sell edibles at the roadside. Yet, his family was struggling, along with his four young siblings. It was then his local friends, who saw his immense talent in the sport, admitted him to a local cricket club in Chennai. He even played the Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL), that caught the attention of many, as he is delivering with his performance for SRH.
Kulwant Khejroliya: The pacer from Rajasthan, who plays for Delhi, did get off to a good start, but is struggling of late. His situation with his family has been ever since his childhood, too, has been the same. Being motivated by Nathu Singh, he had his heart in cricket, as he used to bunk school to play the sport and dreamt of representing the army. He had moved to Goa after failing to secure government job and worked as a waiter at a hotel, run by a friend of his father. “I was working at a restaurant in Goa, but I thought if it is in my kismet that I do this, I could even do it five years later. I wanted to play cricket badly. I told my parents I’m moving to Ahmedabad to join the roadways department. I somehow managed to hide it from them for six months. Only my brother knew the truth,” he had told ESPN.
Mohammed Siraj: Siraj has his dream come true after being selected to represent India in the upcoming Test series in Australia. He is coming off a terrific performance in the just-concluded IPL, where he finished as the third-highest wicket-taker for the side, claiming 11 wickets in nine innings at an economy of 8.68. However, his story of struggle is heartbreaking, as his father used to be an auto-rickshaw driver. As per reports, Siraj was given ₹70 per day to go to the cricket academy. After earning his first IPL contract, he had asked his father to stop driving auto-rickshaw. Although he is funding his family, his father passed away, aged 53, just when he is in Australia, ahead of his Test debut.