Cricket may be struggling for survival in Bihar, but that hasn’t deterred youngsters from carving out a niche in national and international tournaments, braving odds.
The latest to demonstrate that spirit is 19-year-old Anukul Roy, who hails from Bhirha, a remote village in Rosera block of Samastipur district in Bihar.
Roy, a left-arm spinner, has displayed extraordinary talent, grabbing 5/14 against Papua New Guinea, 4/36 versus Zimbabwe, 1/36 against Australia, 1/11 versus Bangladesh and 1/11 against Pakistan in the ICC Under-19 cricket World Cup, thus holding his own in the midst of some heavy stuff by India’s emerging crop of pacers. Even with the bat, he showed grit, scoring a quick-fire 33 against Pakistan and 28 against South Africa.
After impressing coach Rahul Dravid and securing a berth in the Under-19 team,Roy has been consistently improving with each match. His string of successes on the field recently bought him further dividends when he was bought by Mumbai Indians in the India Premier League auction held last month.
“We are extremely happy with the way he has performed. It is because of his hard work and devotion and I consider myself lucky to have identified his talent and shifted him out of Bihar,” said his father Sudhakar, an advocate and a veteran cricketer.
Since Bihar has been kept out of Ranji Trophy for the last 18 years, Roy, like his friend and former under-19 captain Ishan Kishan, too moved to Jharkhand to pursue his dream.
Former under-19 captain Amikar Dayal, who runs a cricket academy in Bihar, saidAnukul was an example of the immense talent in the state’s rural areas. “I hope a small-town boy’s success opens the door for many others and authorities start developing sports infrastructure in rural areas. Anukul has played at the U-16 level for Bihar and sparkled. It is nice to see him excel on the world stage,” he added.
Anukul’s father said his son used to playing all day long without tiring and trying different strokes. “I hope he will represent the national team one day,” he said.
Sudhakar encouraged his son to play right from childhood, taking him to the Patel ground in Samastipur, 70 km from Patna, for practice every day. An orthodox leg-spinner, Anukul adores Ravindra Jadeja, his room full of pictures of his icon.
“He studied in Samastipur till class 8, before we shifted him to Jamshedpur. “His real training started in Jamshedpur… He maintains a low profile and wants his talent to speak for him,” said Sudhakar. Soon, Anukul became captain of the Jharkhand U-19 team and later India Greens,” said his father.
“He keeps interacting on WhatsApp from New Zealand whenever he gets time. We were really happy when he grabbed a fifer in the first under-19 World Cup match. He had performed very well against England under-19 last year, getting three and four-wicket hauls besides contributing with the bat to earn a place in the under-19 World Cup squad,” he said.
Courtesy: Hindustan Times