"Why are you after cricket, itna door se aa ke thodi koi India ke liye khelega. Stop doing time pass"
Now, this is something that each and every one of us has heard at some point in our life, right?
In a country obsessed with stereotypes like "mera beta/beta engineer, doctor ya CA banega/banegi. Agar ye nahi to sarkari naukri to le hi lega/legi (My kid will only become an engineer, doctor or a CA. Worse, he/she will get a government job)", it is very difficult to take bold career moves.
Even if you take them, people will keep reminding you about "what could have been" if you had stuck to conventional professions.
Of course, it is a different case when you go on to vindicate your choice by tasting unprecedented success.
As they say, "success has many fathers, failure is an orphan"
We are a society obsessed with the result. And to be brutally honest, it's understandable. At the end of the day, passion if not translated into success, will not put food on your plate.
It's a tough choice, sometimes. Especially, when you belong to a middle-class family where a lot is riding on what you do in your adult life.
And, so, while it's easy to judge someone and say 'Oh, the dude is conservative. He/she chose a safer option. He/She doesn't have the courage to take risks and fuel his/her passion'
Well, he's got bills to pay and a family to feed. So, stop judging!
On the flip side, there is a small percentage of people who say ‘’Bugger it! I'll take all the risks and prove each and every doubter of mine wrong. I’ll carve out my own niche and inspire young generations to dream and dream big. My success story will be a lesson to kids that if you are willing to marry your passion with process and are willing to endure all the roadblocks that come your way, special things will happen.’’
Shardul Thakur belongs to that extremely small percentage of people who fueled his passion to the hilt, took all the risks, endured all hardships, faced taunts from his detractors, and is now a world beater.
The aforementioned line is what Shardul used to constantly hear from his fellow passengers every time he boarded a train from his hometown Palghar to the cricket academy in Mumbai.
“But I knew what I had to do. I have devoted my life to cricket, and at the same time also finished my graduation,’’ as quoted by Circle of Cricket
Well, the last 12 months have certainly proved that he wasn't doing any "time pass" all those years when people used to ridicule him.
Looking at the success story of Shardul in the past 12 months, there is an important lesson for every youngster: It doesn't matter if anyone believes in you, just trust the process and keep moving forward.
Shardul kept moving forward. People would taunt him "are ye mota hai", he went back and worked on his fitness. People said he isn't a good enough red-ball bowler, he went back and took heaps of wickets for Mumbai in Ranji, people said 'Oh, he can't bowl in T20 cricket’, he just won CSK the IPL final with his brilliant spell- 3/38 in four overs- during the middle-overs.
For Shardul, playing a stellar role in CSK winning the 2021 IPL would have helped him successfully exorcise the demons of the 2019 season when he got out on the slower ball by Lasith Malinga on the final delivery of the game.
It would also have been a satisfying addition to a list of clutch performances he has dished out with both bat and ball for Team India across all three formats to help his country script some of their greatest ever wins.
That strangle down the leg to dismiss 'GOD' Smith in the third ODI last summer? Or that sumptuous 67 in the first innings at the Gabba? What about the seven wickets he claimed across two innings? Oh, and that, THAT freak half-century in the first innings at the Oval? How can you forget that peach of a delivery to dismiss Rory Burns in the second innings or the 100-plus-run stand with Pant?
"'LORD' Shardul is a freak of nature", they say. Well, given the number of once-in-a-lifetime performances he has given, it doesn't feel like an exaggeration.
If he can do that again on November 14 at the Dubai International Stadium, 'King' Kohli may well be tempted to relinquish his crown and bestow it on the 'LORD'.