Today, legends of cricket are encouraging various young minds to opt cricket as their profession. But have you ever pondered who inspired these cricketers to play?
These were some former legends who spotted the unusual raw talent in our cricketers. So, how about we closely look at who encouraged our now-desired cricketers at the beginning of their career.
Prakash Poddar was the BCCI's Talent Research Development Officer (TRDO) when he saw Dhoni batting for the first time. "He scored 35 runs, but even in that age kya marta tha ball ko. He had a raw power and I felt that if we could guide him well, he could become a good one-day cricketer. Well, at least I managed to give Indian cricket Dhoni," says Prakash Poddar.
"I first saw Rahul when he was an 11-year-old boy and a student of St. Joseph's Boys High School. He attended a coaching camp conducted by the Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA) at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium where I was the only coach. He first started to represent the state at the junior level. Once he started playing Ranji Trophy for the state and consistently produced runs, I could recognize that he had a chance to play for the country," says Coach Keki Tarapore who analyzed Rahul Dravid's game according to ESPN.
In 2014, when India ended the day with leading New Zealand by 222 runs and nine wickets in hand, Ajinkya Rahane revealed how grateful he is to have Rahul Dravid as his role model. According to Mid Day, he said, "I have played with him in the Indian team and with Rajasthan Royals, and so I really learnt a lot from him both on and off the field. I just want to thank Rahul Bhai."
It was an Under-13 tournament when a skinny Lokesh Rahul came across his childhood hero Rahul Dravid. He lauded Rahul and said, "This boy is very good, please look after him well, he will go ahead in life." Dravid then spoke to Rahul for a few minutes and motivated and encouraged him. "That was the day when I noticed Rahul to bat even more confidently as Dravid's pep talk was undoubtedly a life-changing lesson for the youngster," recalls the youngster's coach Samuel Jayaraj in an interview with News18.
Dilip Vengsarkar said that he had spotted unusual talent in Yuvraj Singh that he would clear all the boundaries with ease. "The talent we could see was exceptional. He could clear the ground and would clear 120 meters boundary lines at Oval Maidan. He was very obedient, very disciplined and extremely focused," he said according to The Times of India.
"I stood hidden in the players' enclosure and had my first glimpse of the genius of Sachin Tendulkar," Sunil Gavaskar wrote in his column under the headline 'A talent designed by God himself'.
Virender Sehwag revealed that Navjot Singh Sidhu was one of the few cricketers who noticed his talent early in his career. "We have learned a lot from Sidhu. He was the first person who praised me. He said I was Tendulkar of North," expressed Virender Sehwag in one of the interviews.
According to Sportskeeda, Ravindra Jadeja first came into the limelight during his IPL's debut in 2008. That was the time when his raw talent caught the eye of Rajasthan Royals captain Shane Warne, who bestowed on him the title 'Rockstar'.
According to The Times Of India, Kiran More, former Chairman of the Selection Committee of the BCCI, was the one who saw the talent of Cheteshwar Pujara in an Under-14 tournament in Vadodara. He also stated that he Cheteshwar would play for the country soon.
That's all, folks.
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