It started when I was about five years old. My twin brother Indrajith and I were put in the cricket coaching classes by dad. With years of practice, a thousand matches, wins and losses, somewhere in the middle, my love for cricket grew strong!” begins Baba Aparajith. Though the youngster needs no introduction in the Indian domestic cricket scene, he’s in no mood to take things for granted and is striving hard to improve his game.
The 23-year-old, who is currently pursuing Marketing Management in Guru Nanak College, shuttles between studies and state and national level tournaments for majority of the time. “It’s not that hard; in fact, I’ve been shuttling between sports and education ever since my schooling days. I used to practice in the mornings, attend school and come back to practice again. My family even shifted houses near the playground to give more time. So this middling between college and game is not stressful!” Aparajith says.
Currently playing with the Tamil Nadu Ranji Trophy team, the all-rounder has been selected to represent India A as well. “My big break was when we won the under 19 World Cup against Australia in 2012. We won against Pakistan and New Zealand to reach the final. I hit a big century and I won two ‘Man of the Match’ awards — I was proud of myself. After that, I’ve been playing in many national tournaments,” he adds.
With several coaches shaping him since childhood, Aparajith says that he’s grateful to all. “Everyone has been an integral part of my career but my coach from childhood — Balaji — has been a perfect mentor. He is honest with me and knows me very well. Madhanagopal is also one of the coaches I admire. My biggest critic is my brother and I’m his. We want to empower each other, so we tell each other our flaws — to correct them and perform better! It’s great to have a twin brother who is also into cricket,” says the sportsman.
Having also trained under Rahul Dravid, this fan of cricket says that it was a dream come true. “Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid are two of my favourite cricketers and I’ve grown watching them play. The brief period that Rahul trained me was one of the best experiences I’ve gotten!” he adds.
On a mission to get himself in the Indian National Cricket team, Aparajith is aiming to perform better for the Ranji, India A and IPL teams respectively to prove his mettle. “I don’t set number goals — as in to hit a specific number of runs or take a countable number of wickets. The only 100 I focus on is giving a 100 per cent effort into every game and to not let my team down. The responsibility that I’m playing for the country is always on my mind,” he says.
When he’s not on the ground with his bat and ball, Aparajith also loves listening to music. He’s a fan of video games too.
“I’m gifted to have supporting people who are with me on my journey — my family, friends and coaches are my biggest strength,” he says as he signs off!...