Former Indian Air force man Saurabh Kumar ready for ‘India Test’

NEW DELHI: Seven years back, the then 21-year-old Saurabh Kumar faced a common career dilemma pursue his passion or secure a safe future.
Employed with Indian Air Force on sports quota, Saurabh was at the crossroads. He had a secure central government job with all the perks but his heart pushed him to play professional cricket and earn that coveted India jersey.
“There comes a moment in life when you have to take a decision. Jo bhi ho lena padhta hai,” the 28-year-old orthodox left-arm spinner and newest entrant to the Indian Test squad told PTI in an interview.
“It was a tough decision to quit playing Ranji Trophy for the Services. I loved being an Indian Air Force man and part of Indian defence but there was a part of me that felt that I have it in me to work hard and play for India,” the cricketer, who hails from UP’s Baghpat District said.
“I was posted in Delhi. I played for Services in the Ranji Trophy for one year (2014-15 season) when Rajat Palliwal was our captain.
“Since I was a sports quota entry, I didn’t have to do any duty apart from play for Services. If I had quit cricket, then I would have had to do full-time duty,” he recollected the old days.
Hailing from a middle-class family, his father worked as a JE (Junior Engineer) at the All India Radio. His parents were firmly supportive of his decision to trade profession with passion.
“It is amazing that when I told my parents that I am leaving Air-force job, they didn’t for once asked me to reconsider. Both were very supportive of my choice.
“It was my decision to leave IAF but when I saw that parents were supportive, I got a lot of confidence to independently pursue my dream,” Saurabh said.
Being tracked by Bishan Singh Bedi
One of the turning points for Saurabh as a young cricketer was coming under legendary Bishan Singh Bedi’s tutelage. Back in the day, Bedi used to organise Summer Camps and a lot of youngsters practiced over there.
“Bedi sir liked what he saw in my bowling. He introduced me to the world of nuance about little things on grip and stuff. No major changes as he liked my action and loved the areas I bowled into.
“One thing that happened during those Summer Camps was I got a chance to bowl hundreds of overs. Bedi sir had one mantra “Mehnat mein kaami nahi honi chhaiye”. There should be no short cut to success,” he added.
Once he entered the UP age-group teams, it was former state keeper Manoj Mudgal, who backed him a lot and the result is 196 wickets and 1572 runs from 46 first-class games.

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