Most people spend their whole life without knowing what they are meant to do. But very few people find out the purpose for what they are born for and what they have to achieve in their life. I am lucky enough to know my purpose – I am born only to play cricket.
Today, I am captain of All India Cricket Association for the Physically Challenged team. My story began in 1994 when I first started playing cricket, I knew right away that this game was going to be my life. And whatever happens, I would one day play for my country. Besides, me everyone else was so convinced that my dream was unrealistic and none took me seriously at that time. My passion of playing cricket for nation was so intense that I began ignoring my education. My family tried to convince me otherwise but I was so focused on cricket that I unfortunately ignored their advice. I now realise that education should never be compromised but I also trust that we should hold our dreams with steadfastness.
In the beginning everything seemed so tough & impossible. My dream to play on the professional level was fading. Whenever we approached government agencies for help, we were advised to see BCCI and BCCI redirected us to meet government authorities. We were just running pillar to post. This vicious cycle demotivated us.
Then came a sudden change in year 2003, a miracle happened, I came to know that there are special tournaments, run by the All India Cricket Association for the Physically Challenged. This ray of hope seemed like my dream come true. I started working my way through hardships and criticisms to achieve my goal. I began to publicly introduce myself as a cricketer, I was laughed on, advised to quit the sport and someone even commented “to sit outside the temple & beg”. Discrimination based on your physical disability is a criminal act and leaves you in pain & distress. However, your own determination and stubbornness to achieve something comes handy during such situations. The motivation is within, you just need to find it! And the word for it is “Zidd” and I am “Ziddi”.
In the year 2016 the team visited Bangladesh for a series against Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and England. I was fortunate enough to be in this team. We did taste victory and even Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina praised our game.
Recently we participated in a tournament where in, the audience were from the IPL team and amongst them was the living legend, Sachin Tendulkar. Needless to mention that it was a moment of Joy to have met him.
With great confidence and pleasure I played against the regular team, And I thank everyone for the inclusion and equality. Even though, we did get a chance to play with them but still our battle is an ongoing episode with the BCCI and the Sports Ministry. You will be surprized to know that we are paid only Rs.100/- per match which is way too low an amount for our hard efforts. Again!! I do not authorize disability or anyone’s opinion to stop me from dreaming!
I am proud to be a ‘Ziddi Cricketer’ and will always be driven by my passion. Today we are preparing passionately for World Cup 2019 which will be held in England.