ďAllow your passion to become your purpose, and it will one day become your professionĒ - Gabrielle Bernstein
Q: Tell us now about your sporting journey in our Campus.
My sporting journey on campus has been amazing. Right from my first year, I was an integral part of the cricket team. I was fortunate enough to have a lot of seniors who guided me through tough situations and helped me evolve as a player. Over the three years on campus, a lot has changed. In my first year, there was no proper ground as such and it was pretty difficult phase for all of us. But with time, things improved and so did the facilities (Cricket ground that you see today). I feel that the sporting culture has escalated quickly since the construction of the cricket ground. In addition to that more talented cricketers came in every subsequent year. It is quite pleasing to see a great bunch of talented juniors in the current team. I have learnt a lot from my seniors, my batch mates and my juniors which has not only helped me evolve as a cricketer but even as a better human being. I have seen a lot of ups and downs and more importantly I have learned from each of these. Iíve treasured all those moment of laughter, despair, glory and the everlasting friendship forged between teammates.
Q: When did you start your coaching and how many hours a day do you practice? Do you practice everyday?
I started my coaching when I was 12, and I had passion for the sport. It is the passion and the enjoyment that I had while playing this sport, which has taken me to the level where I am today. In school, once the classes got over, we had all the time to play. Besides, I took professional coaching thrice a week which laid the foundation.
Since we are academically bound, two to three hours of practice every day does it for me. I make it a point to practise daily.
Q: What is highest level of sport that you have played?
I have represented at the state level for Karnataka and now I am in pursuit of representing Hyderabad as well. So itís at the club, district, zonal and state level that I have played. I have also played at the KVS National sports meet a couple of times. I have represented my school at SGFI level too.
Q: How did you manage academics and sports together?
Basically you will have to focus on whatever you are doing. If you are studying, your focus should be on it. If you are in the ground, concentrate on the game and do not think of studies. I believe that if you study after play, your brain grasps things faster and you study better. The time I spent on the ground right from the childhood, motivated me to study harder. Thus we have to balance our studies with at least one to two hours of play. Very few people actually consider the importance of sports. Any sport not only activates the body but also the mind which always results in better performance. So, I request people who do not play any outdoor sport to go out and play any sport of their choice. The results do not happen overnight, but continuously playing for 2 to 3 months will bring a drastic change in the person as a whole. One third of our time in a day goes off in sleeping and if we manage to utilize the remaining time efficiently, it should not be a problem to do sports and academics together. How you utilize your time is more important. If you utilize it well, youíll end up doing many more activities of your choice at the end of the day.
Q: When it comes to cricket, what do you think decides the match; hard work or talent?
Talent is either god-gifted or comes through hard work. Success in a match is majorly based on your hard work and rest of it deals with the mental aspect of the game. Luck too plays a major role in cricket. Cricket is a team sport, so the team that does good collective work on a particular day of the match wins. A team that is good on paper, does not win all the games. What is important is not only talent or hard work but at the end of the day how you execute your plans in crunch situations decides the result. The way you read the situation and how well you coordinate with the team is the most important thing.
Q: What is the ideal time to start Cricket coaching?
There is no such thing as ideal time to start the game. You could start at a very young age or even when you are old. It all depends on how your body takes it and whether you like the sport or not. So I cannot mention any particular figure as such. Of course, children are more energetic, they can play for longer duration and learn things faster. So if you start early, you are likely to become a better player later on. Even if you are old never feel itís too late, because it is better now than never. Everyone does not become a professional or National player. It is about enjoying the game and the recreation that you get, because your mind too needs a break. So you enjoy and benefit playing out there.
Q: Could you suggest a road map for students who are interested in cricket and would like to master the game?
Mastering is a huge word, but first the person should have immense passion for the sport and the determination to come to the ground regularly. If the person has already played some cricket then we can guide him well, help him improve his skills and induct him into the team. If he is a beginner then it becomes difficult for us, as we donít have enough time to teach every enthusiastic person. We have a coach appointed who could guide the beginners. So the people who are at a beginner stage in the game should make it a point to come and play whenever the coach is available. The time required to be good at the game differs from person to person. No one is a born cricketer. Cricket is a skill that is achieved through a lot of practise and learning.
Q: What diet do you follow that helps you in your game?
This is a very important question. At a college level we donít play longer format games, we rather play T-20ís on weekends. Since I have played for different clubs where the format has been a slightly longer one like one day, two day or three day matches, it is very important to keep the body fit. During the pre-season sessions you need to work more on your strength and stamina. Before the match you should take a lot of carbohydrates. During the match you have to take beverages which keep you energetic throughout the match. To prepare yourself for a season, youíd probably work out more to build your muscles, work on strengthening and conditioning and stay on a comparatively higher protein diet.
During the match it is all about fluids and keeping yourself hydrated whereas before the match it is more of a carbohydrate diet. After the match, try having a high protein meal to compensate for all the proteins you have lost. If you are going to play in a longer format, then you must sleep for more than 8 hours. Just as your body needs rest your mind needs rest too. Sleep is an essential factor. Try to avoid junk food as much as possible. I know it is tough staying in a hostel and avoiding such stuff. But try to eat as minimal junk as you can and stick to healthy food. Try to include more vegetables and fruits in your diet.
Q: You must have faced many difficulties during your game. So would you like to share any particular incident and how you overcame it as a team?
I donít remember any particular incident as of now, but I can explain how it feels during any such pressure situations in a match. There are many situations where you could lose the game but still if you respond smartly to it, there are chances of you winning it. But as a player, you need to know when you have to change your game plan or strategy during any crunch situation. The cricketer who stays calm, composed and executes his strategies and plans well at that point, ends up winning. In a pressure situation the match could go in the hands of either of the teams. All the strategies and execution comes through experience and the ability to think properly under pressure.
When you practise, you usually donít face much pressure. Since you practice in the nets and the bowlers bowl for the sake of your batting practise, and not to win any match, you donít face any pressure. I would suggest the players to try putting themselves in pressure situations even in practice sessions and then review their performance accordingly. Simulate a match situation in your practise sessions, rectify your mistakes and prepare yourself for that one important pressure situation you will face in the match.
Q: What has been the influence of sports in your life?
Sports has taught me every little thing in my life. A sports person faces tough times, times of great stress and pressure. This makes you tougher, not only physically but also mentally. It helps you recover from stressful situations if they ever occur in your life. Cricket, I feel is a sport where you can draw parallels from it to life. I tend to relate situations that I face in real life to that of a match situation and try to come up with a solution to it. Cricket helps you understand people better and makes you a mature individual. This might be a feature of all sports and since I am more passionate about cricket, I relate more to it.
Q: Could you explain the current scenario of cricket in our Campus? Where does our Cricket team stand when compared to outside teams?
I feel that our Cricket team has been definitely improving over the years. More people are competing for various spots in the team. Number of people coming for practice regularly has increased. We are playing regularly, but some more efforts are needed to match it up to stronger degree college teamsí in the city. They (Degree College teams) play all day and we have limitations because of our academics. So if we can increase our practice durations by 5 to 10% over the years, our team should soon match them. Our team is good and one of the strongest teams in the city among engineering colleges. But when it comes to comparing with degree colleges, we still need improvement, because they are all seasoned players and regular cricketers. They do have an advantage over us, because they practise daily at coaching camps and under specialized coaches. But still if we can practice regularly, there will be a day when we can match up to them. As for the equipment, we have all of them and every year we are getting new ones.
Q: What are the achievements of our cricket team?
We have been runners-up and winners in the previous editions of our sports fest. Our performance outside the campus hasnít been great, the reason for this being some other work commitments, insufficient time and money. If our team is well prepared for these then we can do really well even in the tournaments outside our campus. I always believe that if our team is playing in some other tournament, they should not send a second string team or the team which does not consist of all the best players. They should send the best team and not a team which is available. If you are participating then participate with a full-fledged team.
Q: What do you think is the scenario of Womenís cricket in our campus?
As for now there isnít any team for girls in our campus. There are a few who are interested but the reason why it didnít grow is the lack of initiative. They can come to the ground and watch us play. They should start playing and approach people who can help them. We are more than happy to train them. In the beginning if there are only a few girls, then we will start training them and help them improve their skills under the supervision of a coach. Seeing these few girls play and train well, will lead to more participation from other girls. It will take a lot of hard work and time but once it gets started, you will probably get to see a BITS Womenís Cricket team in the upcoming years. Even if one girl takes the responsibility to come to the ground and check the facilities available, it will make a difference. There are many levels of tournaments for Womenís cricket as well. The competition in Womenís Cricket is much lesser as compared to Menís cricket.
Q: What sets you apart from the other players and the professional players outside the campus?
Other professional cricketers are neglecting education. There are good international cricketers who had not even passed 12th standard and the others, who just managed to get a degree. Education is one thing which you can apply anywhere in life and a player who is educated is one step ahead of the other player who is not.
Q: What are your future plans?
Every cricketerís dream is to represent his/her country and bring glories to the nation. Well, I too have the same dream, but playing the sport and enjoying while playing it is more important. (Avoided a few points as he didnít want to reveal in detail).
ďDonít be afraid to fail. Be afraid not to try.Ē
ďEnjoy the game and chase your dreams, dreams do come trueĒ - Sachin Tendulkar