We grew up playing cricket in our colony; we played other sports too and this kept us very active. But cricket took precedence over everything else and all of us enjoyed a game of cricket and forgot about the worries and tension from school. We used to play in the maidan in front of our building and every January 26, the juniors will take on the seniors and it was a fun-filled affair.
Things started progressing faster than I expected and I changed schools to joined Shardasahram Vidyamandir. India winning the 1983 World Cup was a significant trigger. From school to Ranji Trophy and then playing for India... it all happened in four and half or five years time.
Cricket has given me virtually everything in life. I met my wife Anjali because of cricket. Cricket has been a blessing. It has been the foundation of everything that I have constructed. My brother Ajit taking me to Ramakant Achrekar Sir’s nets was the turning point in my life. If he (Ajit ) had not done so, god knows... I would have been probably playing tennis ball cricket in front of my building and that’s where it would have probably ended.
With regard to Sportstar , it was the sports magazine one read while growing up. Suddenly there were write-ups on me. It was a fantastic moment to see my photograph on the cover (as an inset) after the century against Gujarat. I still have that copy of the magazine. I also remember the longish brown kit bag that I received as a prize for the player of the tournament in the inaugural Sporstar Trophy (under-17 MCA selection trial tournament). I can never forget those moments.
(As told to G. Viswanath)
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