Arjun-Who lived to tell a tale
It was a very dark moon less night on a winter when cyclone threatened to hit the Chachowal a village on the outskirts of Punjab. Arjun was 10 years old then and he was curious to go out of their house and play with his elder brother but his mother Meera was against his idea as frequent thunderstorms and lightning hit once in few minutes.
Meera thought a way of engaging her children by telling a story but that thought disappeared soon after she realized that Arjun was clever enough to identify it was the same one they heard few weeks ago but with different characters. She looked down and saw a newspaper in which there was a photograph of Virat Kohli with his bat held high in celebration and by that time she had decided that it was cricket that is going to keep Arjun and his brother from going out. Meera started explaining the role of batsmen, bowler and fielder in the game of cricket and also about the rules of the game which left Meera to answer a whole lot of questions for some of them she did not have an answer but she managed quite well. It was about midnight when she started to doze off but Arjun was keen on listening to her and at the same time questioning her on lot of occasions. She promised to continue the rest tomorrow and asked Arjun to go sleep. He went half heartedly because he felt this was new to him and it was by far the best game she had taught.
Arjun woke up next morning with a quest to know more about the game and he started following cricket on television. At that time it was the home season for INDIA hosting ENGLAND people called it as the revenge series since Indians were beaten badly when they toured England last time. As days passed by he started playing cricket with locals in and around his house. There was some sought of happiness in Meera's face as she saw her son play the game which she had taught only few months ago.
Arjun was 13 now and he decided to represent his school and he approached the Ian (Trainer/Coach) and expressed his willingness to play for the school team. Ian asked him "Ok...well...What is that you specialize in? Batsmen or bowler or an all-rounder...? ". He replied "I'm a fast bowler who can bat a bit". Ian was impressed by that answer because he believed along the lines of Kapil Paaji ("Everybody wants to be an officer (batsmen) and only a few wants be worker (bowler)") and asked him come on a Sunday morning but he reminded him about the talent that school has got and said “It won't be easy for you to break into the team straight away..You need to have good skills and execute them properly to have any chance".
Arjun nodded and was happy returning home that day having got an opportunity to show his stuff. He was counting on the days and was pumped up. Meanwhile Meera wasn't happy though because of the recent slump in Arjun's ranking in class as he was keen on playing and talking cricket most of the time. Having had a good night sleep he woke up to a hot sunny day (It was that Sunday Ian had asked Arjun to come).
Arjun was early to the ground and was seen having a bowl at nets and few minutes later Ian arrived. He was impressed by the punctuality he had shown since he believes that it is this quality along with respect to what you do which are most important attributes for a person and If you have these rest will follow.
Ian called him and said "Hey kid why don't you come and bowl at me ...? You are a fast bowler right ..?" to which replied "Yeah ok...” He was nervous inside but was confident of putting up a good show. He bowled a few balls to him and at one point Ian asked him to stop. By then Ian had judged him he called him and said "You seem to have good pace but at the same time you are very erratic and wayward. You need to work a lot if you want to be good bowler and represent the team". He also called him for practice on every weekends along with school team. He had mixed emotions but was happy overall.
Back home Meera was worried about her son's shift towards cricket and his attention towards started deteriorating. On returning home he was excited mama "Guess what... I had the opportunity to bowl to our school Trainer/Coach and he has asked to come for practice on weekends. I want to be a cricketer” and will come in newspaper one day.”Hearing this she wasn't happy at all and started advising him to work on the rankings in class rather than aspiring to be in school cricket team. She also reminded him that it will always be studies which will help you grow as an individual.
Being from a modest family and from a small town, cricket as a career option would not be great idea. Arjun was not able to understand everything that her mother had told but he knew where she was coming to. He was quiet and did not reply to her mother.
Back in the weekend practice he was among the few bowlers who did bowling to gun batting displayed by his mates. He was bit low on confidence and had started thinking about his performance as he was carted all round the ground and some balls were deposited deep in the woods of his bowling. Enter Varun star batsmen of the school team who said "Yaar if you bowl at this rate this might be the one of the last session you are attending look over there our Trainer is also having a look at everybody".
He was down, wasn't giving his best and started pondering whether is mother was perhaps correct. Ian called everyone had a word about their performance in the session which was crucial for selecting the team for Inter-School tournament. Arjun went towards Ian dejectedly he knew that his show was not great and also told him about the things which happened at home to which Ian replied Arjun you have a good potential of becoming a good fast bowler and it is very important to believe in you when you are low on confidence or pressurized by the situation.
I will tell you story about a great guy "Oscar Pistorious" do you know him..? He replied with a polite no. Well he was the South African sprinter who had artificial limbs ran in 400 meters in London 2012 Olympics challenged the likes of other great sprinters who did not have any physical disabilities. He may not have won but he had created history by qualifying for the semi finals. So it is important to believe in your abilities to achieve in life. There will be lot of people who will discourage and pull you down this is where focus comes in. Arjun I hope you do well.
Hearing this he was very inspired, brimming with confidence he went home with clear mind and all that doubts had disappeared. This also reflected on the performance on the field and sooner he had convinced Meera to pursue his dreams as a cricketer and expressed his desire to play for India.
Few years passed. He was making a mark for his state team Punjab in Ranji Trophy also got a call from national selectors to represent India at the age of 21 in the 2019 World Cup to be held in Australia & New Zealand. Guess who is captain of India for that world cup. It was Virat Kohli who was first childhood hero soon he called his Coach (Ian) and his mother to share this feeling. Arjun was all over the newspapers the next day even one of the news papers quoted "Road from Chachowal to Canberra"
It was Arjun who lived to tell tale to Virat which he heard on that night his mother had told which changed the course of his life.
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