Preparing for the 2019 ICC World Cup, captain Virat Kohli and national selectors on Monday picked up uncapped bowler Mohammed Siraj among others in the 16-man squad for three-T20I series against New Zealand.
Within no time, the 23-year-old Hyderabadi boy made headlines throughout the nation. The son of an auto-rickshaw driver was soaked up in emotions when he broke the news to his parents.
“I feel proud that at 23, I am good enough to shoulder the responsibility of my family. The day I got an IPL contract, I told my father that I won’t let him work anymore. Usi din se maine father ko bola ki aap abhi rest kaaro (that very day I told Dad that now you can rest),” Siraj told PTI after earning a national call-up.
This isn’t the first time when the gentlemen’s game has ignited hopes for a small town bowler. Here are some of the similar cricketers who despite coming from a humble background, made it big in Indian cricket.
Hailing from Sirsa district in Haryana, Barinder Sran earned a national call-up in December 2015. The left-arm pacer was included in the squad in place of Bhuvneshwar Kumar for the ODI series in Australia.
It was January 12, 2016, when Sran made his ODI debut for India. Bowling against Australia on their home turf, he impressively took three big wickets in his first ODI. Aaron Finch, David Warner and Steve Smith were the victims of the Sirsa lad.
So far, Sran has claimed 13 wickets for India in eight international matches. He last played a T20I against Zimbabwe in June 2016.
The fast bowler from Maharashtra – Shardul Thakur — is well remembered for his debut match in which he was trolled massively by netizens for donning the No.10 jersey. The No.10 jersey was graced by legendary batsman Sachin Tendulkar and his fans didn’t like Thakur in that jersey on his debut ODI.
Having played just two matches for two ODIs for India, Thakur has managed to claim just one wicket.
The Mumbai quick was initially picked in the 17-member squad for the four-Test tour of the West Indies in July-August 2016.
Hailing from Mandi, Himachal Pradesh, Rishi Dhawan also entered the men-in-blue camp with dreams in his eyes. Dhawan got his national call-up in December 2015 for Australia tour and made his ODI debut for India against Australia on January 17, 2016.
In three ODI matches that he played in Australia, Dhawan managed to claim one wicket. In his maiden T20I match against Zimbabwe last year, he added another scalp to his tally.
Punjab pacer Manpreet Singh Gony made his ODI debut for India during the 2008 Asia Cup in Karachi, Pakistan. Manpreet managed to claim two wickets in his short-stint for India, though his spirit was snapped early in career.
The 6’4” pacer was in deep depression, got divorced and wanted to stay away from cricket and India. “I was fickle-minded because my life was upset at the personal front and there was a lot of pressure on me,” he was quoted saying last year.
He gave up cricket but made a comeback in 2014, played for Punjab till 2015 and went missing again. Struggling with his dipping form and trouble on the personal front, he went to the US, giving up on his cricket career.
Parvez Rasool became the first cricketer from Jammu & Kashmir when he earned a national call-up in July 2013. Also, he was the first player from the valley to have played the IPL.
Eventually, Rasool represented India in June 2014, playing Bangladesh in Mirpur. Bowling off-spin, he claimed his first international T20 wicket in England’s Eoin Morgan. In ODIs, Rasool’s victims were Anamul Haque and Mushfiqur Rahim of Bangladesh.
During the 2009 Champions League Twenty20, Rasool was detained by the police in Bangalore on suspicion of carrying explosives in his bag. The spinner objected to the checking of his bag by sniffer dogs at his hotel, which he justified later saying his resistance was only due to the presence Quran and a prayer mat in the bag.