Conquering challenges and hardships: The story of Chetan Sakariya

A left-arm pacer who comes from a small town of Gujarat, Chetan Sakariya is only a step away from fulfilling his dream to represent his nation at the biggest platform. Coming from a humble background, the young pacer has seen plenty in his life at a young age.

Humble beginning

Born in a family with many financial constraints, it was the youngster’s unflinching commitment towards the sport that he made himself known to the world. Sakariya’s father, a tempo driver, suggested that he should focus on his studies. However, the 23-year-old’s maternal uncle ensured that his nephew’s dream did not remain unfulfilled.

Striking a deal with him, his uncle promised to pay his tuition fees and asked him to help him in his stationery business in return. Sakariya continued playing cricket in his backyard while studying and helping his uncle’s business. His breakthrough arrived when he managed to impress local coaches at the district level and eventually broke into Saurashtra’s U-16 team. However, it was not meant to be immediate as a glute injury forced him out of contention for 7-8 months.

Not losing the spirit, Sakariya regained fitness and put himself into contention for Cooch Behar Trophy and soon earned his maiden Vijay Hazare Trophy cap for Saurashtra before finally making his Ranji Trophy debut in 2018-19. Replacing an injured Jaydev Unadkat, Sakariya bagged a fifer on Ranji debut and ended the season with 29 wickets in 8 matches.

Making it big

He then auditioned for the Indian Premier League with Mumbai Indians and the Rajasthan Royals before finally being roped in by the latter for an INR 1.2 crore deal in 2021. Having been a part of the Royal Challengers Bangalore’s set up as a net bowler in the 2020 edition of the league, Sakariya had the hang of the tournament to an extent, and he showed that he belonged once he was provided with a chance.

However, the IPL selection was a bittersweet moment for the youngster, as he lost his brother to suicide. The unfortunate incident occurred when Sakariya was participating in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. Sakariya’s family, concerned about not disrupting his mental state, decided not to break the news until he finished his professional duties.

Stepping up

Later, getting to know that he lost one of the closest persons of his life, a shattered Sakariya did not utter a word for a week as he detached himself from everyone. As fate would have it, he bagged an IPL contract only three weeks later. While he rues that his brother was not next to him to witness his younger brother bring laurels, Sakariya made sure that he gave his best to grab that opportunity, dismissing the likes of KL Rahul, MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina, Mayank Agarwal, Ambati Rayudu and making his name in all the circuits of cricket.

Come July 2021, he has earned his maiden international call with the BCCI including him in the 25-member squad for India’s tour of Sri Lanka. Having successfully crossed countless hurdles, Sakariya looks all set to wear the Indian jersey and make his late brother and the entire nation proud.

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