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U-19 cricket captain Anuj Rawat’s inspirational journey

Despite mediocre income from farming, Rawat family struggled to continue with Anuj’s coaching.

Raju Gusain | Dehradun |

Just a few days back, Indian Under-19 squad for the two four-day matches in Sri Lanka was announced. Indian cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar’s son, Arjun, who was also named in the team hogged all the media attention. Arjun’s selection in the Indian team outshined Anuj Rawat’s entry in Indian cricket team.

Anuj Rawat, who hails from a small village of Uttarakhand has been named the skipper of Indian U-19 cricket team. Rawat’s fairytale journey from a remote village of India to leading Indian U-19 cricket team will leave everyone amazed.

Anuj Rawat belongs from a small village Roopur, near Ramnagar, in district Nainital. There are no sports coaching facilities near Anuj’s native village. Due to lack of cricket academy, Anuj was forced to join a small academy at Ramnagar, 5 km from his village.

Remembering the old days, Anuj’s father Virendra Pal Singh Rawat said, “I used to play cricket in my young days and it was my dream that my son should play cricket. When Anuj was small, he used to hold the cricket bat straight. His coach Satish Pokhriyal advised that if I want my son to play professional cricket I should train him in New Delhi.”

Virendra Rawat took Satish Pokhriyal’s advise and admitted his son at Bal Bhawan International School. In the beginning, Anuj used to stay with his uncle and later took a rented apartment where he used to stay with his elder brother.

After a few years, Anuj joined the West Delhi Cricket Academy, run by Indian skipper Virat Kohli’s coach Rajkumar Sharma, and after that, he never looked back.

Despite mediocre income from farming, Rawat family struggled to continue with Anuj’s coaching. A portion of the loan was diverted to provide Anuj required facilities. However, the hard work of Rawat family paid off when Arjun got selected in the Ranji Trophy team of Delhi last year. And now the 18-year-old wicket-keeper batsman will lead the Indian under 19 team in the four-day matches in Sri Lanka.

Talking about his son’s achievement, Virendra Pal Singh Rawat said, “We belong to a middle-class family and our financial condition makes it difficult to afford our kids to pursue a career in sports. It is because of blessing from family members and friends; my son was able to make it to the Indian team.”

Right from the day Anuj was named the captain of the under 19 Indian team, the remote Roopur village has witnessed a big movement of media. The village is home to about 40 families and local people are mostly engaged in farming. The Rawat family has 26 bigha agriculture land where they cultivate rice, wheat and sugarcane. Local resident Ganesh Rawat says, “Anuj was able to make it big due to his talent and support of family. We are proud of his success.”