Meet Saurabha Kumara, a new face in the Indian test squad

Left-handed Uttar Pradesh has left the Air Force to pursue his ambition of playing professional cricket

Left-handed Uttar Pradesh has left the Air Force to pursue his ambition of playing professional cricket

Seven years ago, then-21-year-old Saurabh Kumar faced a common career dilemma — to follow his passion or secure a secure future.

Employed in the Indian Air Force at the sports quota, Saurabh was at a crossroads. He had a secure job in the central government with all the amenities, but his heart was forcing him to play professional cricket and earn that coveted Indian jersey.

“There comes a time in life when you have to make a decision. Jo bhi ho lena padhta hai“The 28-year-old left-handed orthodox turner and the newest member of the Indian test team told PTI.

“It was a tough decision to stop playing the Early Trophy for Services. I loved being a member of the Indian Air Force and part of the Indian defense, but part of me felt I had enough strength to work and play for India,” said the cricket player, who comes from UP. of this Baghpat district.

“I am stationed in Delhi. I played for the Services in the Early Trophy for one year (season 2014-15) when Rajat Palliwal was our captain.

“Since I was a member of the sports quota, I didn’t have to perform any duty other than playing for the Services. If I had stopped playing cricket, I would have had to work full time,” he recalled of the old days.

Hailing from a middle-class family, his father worked as a JE (Junior Engineer) at All India Radio. His parents strongly supported his decision to trade the profession with passion.

“It’s amazing that when I told my parents I was quitting my job in the Air Force, they never once asked me to think. They both supported me a lot.

“My decision was to leave the IAF, but when I saw my parents give me support, I gained a lot of confidence to follow my dream on my own,” Saurabh said.

Daily trip to Delhi

There is something in the spinners on his left hand that makes them special, and one of the character traits is the perseverance that Saurabh believes he had in abundance.

“Now we stay in Ghaziabad, but during those first days of playing cricket in Delhi, it was a big temptation. In my city of Baraut in Baghpat district we didn’t have great coaching capacities. So I had to go by daily train to get to Delhi for my training at The National Stadium, “he said.

For the uninitiated, Saurabh’s coach is Sunita Sharma, the only Droanchary cricket woman in India, whose other notable student is former keeper Deep Dasgupta.

“If I had afternoon nets at 2pm. I left home at 10am. It would have been three and a half hours by train and another half an hour to the stadium. And the same as I was coming back. It was hard but that’s what it helped me when I look back, ”said the man who has had 95 doors in the last two first-class seasons (2018-19, 2019-20).

“When you’re 15 or 16, you don’t understand. Aap mein junoon itna hota hai, ki kuch bhi aapko mushkil nahi agta hai (When you have so much passion, nothing seems difficult). ”

Training led by Bishan Singh Bedi

One of the turning points for Saurabha as a young cricketer was coming under the leadership of the legendary Bishan Singh Bedi. Bedi used to organize summer camps and a lot of young people practiced there.

“Bedi cheese liked what he saw in my bowling. He introduced me to the world of nuances about the little things on the grip and the like. No major changes because he liked my action and loved the areas I bowled to.

“One thing that happened during those summer camps was that I got a chance to bowl hundreds of overs. Bedi cheese had one mantra.” Mehnat mein kaami nahi honi chhaiye“There should be no shortcut to success,” he added.

After joining the UP age teams, it was former state keeper Manoj Mudgal, who supported him a lot, and the result is 196 goals and 1572 runs from 46 first-class matches.

Saurabh once during his two seasons of 51 and 44 gates once received an invitation to the Iran Cup which had to be canceled due to COVID-19 in 2020.

“When I was selected for the rest of India, I knew I was on the selector’s radar now. I bowed pretty well and I was confident, but then it didn’t happen and I lost the opportunity to show my talent in the Iranian Cup.” But he continued to work hard.

“I can work hard for long hours without any crowds.” Life needed to change as he finally got an invitation from India A to go to South Africa and played two A tests at Bloemfontein. He certainly impressed the coaches as the senior team then kept him as a reserve bowler for the test series.

“It was a dream come true because I got the opportunity to bowl to older Indian players like Virat Kohli, KL Rahul. It was a big learning curve for me. They gave valuable advice to help me improve as a bowler.”

No IPL offers, no regrets

₹ Saurabha once chose Rising Pune Supergiants for 10 lakhs in 2017, but this time, a few days before his first call in India, he remained unsold at IPL auctions. But he does not regret it.

“Not one percent regrets it. This is life. Zindagi mein upar neeche toh hota rahega. Zaroorat hai toh lage rehne ka (There will be ups and downs in life. All you need to do is stick to it.) I do just that, ”he signed.

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