NEW DELHI: At first glance, he would pass off as any other young cricketer. Twenty-two-year-old Ankur Jaiswal has all the trappings of a good cricketer but it’s his grit and determination that set him apart.
Ankush, who stays with his family in a single-room slum resettlement authority (SRA) house, didn’t allow his extremely poor financial condition to hamper his dream of becoming a cricketer. In the process, the off spinner became only the second groundsman’s son ever, after Eknath Solkar, to play for Mumbai in the 98-year-old history of the Ranji Trophy.
Speaking to Blitz India, Ankush said that he was determined to become a good cricketer after seeing the travails of his father Ramakrishna, a groundsman at the MIG Cricket Ground in Bandra. “My father had done a lot for me. He had made many sacrifices for me and I was very sure that I could not let him down. I was practicing for 10 hours a day,” he said.
Ankush said the biggest challenge came when they had to frequently change houses. “As the renovation work at the MIG Ground was on, we had to change our accommodation regularly. Things came to such a pass that I was mentally prepared to move into a new accommodation almost every week,” he said.
There were also days when he had to manage a single meal; but those hardships made Ankush only stronger. “For me, trials and tribulations are only a stepping stone to success. One should never lose one’s focus,” he said.
When he was only 15, Ankush got a chance to interact with his idol Sachin Tendulkar. ‘I will never forget that experience for the rest of my life. He had precious piece of advice for me. He told me that every batsman had his own set of strengths and weaknesses and that a clever bowler was one who exploited that weakness. Simple words, yet there is no denying the utility of this advice,” recalled Ankush.
On his part, Ankush’s father, Ramakrishna, was happy that his son could make it to the Mumbai squad. “When you consider that this Mumbai squad has cricketers like Rohit Sharma, Suryakumar Yadav and Ajinkya Rahane, I think Ankush’s is not a small achievement. For all the hardwork that he put in, he deserved it,” said the proud father.