Monday, March 4, 2024
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HomeSportIndia vs England: Once surviving two tragedies in six months, Akash Deep...

India vs England: Once surviving two tragedies in six months, Akash Deep is ‘ready to make’ his dream come true – Times of India


NEW DELHI: Akash Deep had just finished his spell and was managing the boundary when he heard everyone in the Bengal dressing room clapping in unison and congratulating him.


He had just received his first call-up to the Indian Test team for the remaining three matches against England, a reward for his hard work in the red ball. Cricket for Bengal and India A during the last season.

“I was hoping that in the near future I might get a Test call-up if I continue to perform, but I didn’t expect that it would come in the third match,” Akash Deep’s soft voice belied any sense of euphoria as he spoke to PTI. from his hotel room in Thumba, Kerala.

It has been quite a seven-year journey for the 27-year-old, from being the tennis star in Durgapur to playing in the first division in Kolkata, followed by under-23 and first-class cricket.

IN SASARAM, PLAYING CRICKET WAS “CRIME”
If someone had told the 15-year-old son of a government school teacher, Ramji Singh, that he could make a career out of cricket, he would have laughed himself.

“In Bihar (suspended by the BCCI in those days), there was no platform and especially where I come from, Sasaram, playing cricket was a crime. Kitne parents jo aapne bacchon se kahte the Akash se duur raho, woh padhai nahi karta hai aur usko sangat mein bigaad jaogey (Many parents would warn their children not to mix with Akash because he only plays cricket and his studies would go to waste),” laughed Akash.

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“But you know, I don’t blame them. What would you have achieved by playing cricket in a place like ours? You would waste your time and not even become a cricketer and also ignore academics.

Your future would be ruined and they were worried. My parents were too,” he stated.

His father would tell Akash to appear for the government exams if possible.

“Appear for the Bihar Police Constable exams or at least try for the state government class IV staff (peon),” my father used to say. He would fill out those government job application forms and I would go to the exams and come back submitting blank forms.

“In my opinion, although cricket was my passion, I just wanted to be happy and never thought of making a career out of it,” he said.

But then things changed when tragedy struck, not once but twice in a six-month period.

After his father’s death, Akash even more tragically lost his elder brother, who had two young daughters who were going to school.

“Six months mein papa aur bhaiyya ka dehant ho gaya. Mere paas khoney ke liye kuch thaa nahi. Motivation yeh thaa ki aab kuch karna hai kyon ki family ki zimmedari leni hai (I had nothing to lose but I needed to take responsibility).”

With the help of a friend, he got a chance to play at a club in Durgapur, West Bengal, but the money he earned came from playing tennis ball cricket.

“I played leather ball matches for my club, but at first there was no money. So I played tennis ball matches three or four days a month around the district and earned Rs 6,000 a day.

This way I earned 20,000 a month, which helped me meet my expenses,” said Akash, who was self-taught until he made the cut-off for Bengal Under-23.

“I never had a regular coach. Saurasish Lahiri (current Bengal assistant coach), Arun Lal sir, Rano sir (Ranadeb Bose), all of them have helped me from time to time, and whatever I could learn, I learned,” he said.

PLAY AT THE HIGHEST LEVEL
Akash has 103 wickets in 29 First-Class games and in two ‘Tests’ against the England Lions, he took 11 wickets, including two four-wicket hauls.

“The inward swing is my main delivery, but at this level, you need to have an outward and backswing and, most importantly, control the swing.

“I was in the (India) ODI team in South Africa and I realized that more than skill, at this level, it is more about mental strength and being able to execute plans under pressure,” he said.

This is the first time in many years that two Bengal pacers are together in the Indian Test team.

“It is a matter of pride that Mukesh (Kumar) bhai and I are together in the Indian dressing room in a Test team. Bengal is our state and has given us everything. This national call-up is my way of showing my gratitude to Bengal” , said.




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