Hyderabad: There was cheer in Hyderabad cricket circles when top order batsman Bavanaka Sandeep broke into the hallowed Indian Premier League, at the auction in Kolkata on Thursday. The 27-year-old was picked by home team Sunrisers Hyderabad at his base price of Rs 20 lakh.
Sandeep couldn’t have asked for more. “I have been waiting to be part of the IPL for so many years... a long-pending wish has come true today,” the excited player told this newspaper.
“Ever since the IPL began, I have been dreaming of playing in the popular league that has such high visibility. This is where people see you, it provides a great platform to represent the country too,” the left-hander said.
Sandeep is also thrilled about the company he’ll keep. “To be part of the same team as David Warner, Kane Williamson, Jonny Bairstow and other top players is a massive boost. I am overjoyed,” he said.
The Hyderabad player has been trying his luck at trials with different franchises this year. “I was hopeful of being picked at the IPL auction after good performances in the Mushtaq Ali Trophy (domestic T20 tournament). I am glad everything fell in place. To be selected for the hometown team is a huge bonus... to play in front of home crowds is an added incentive. I will continue to work hard and perform to the best of my ability for the benefit of the team,” he said.
Sandeep’s father Parmeshwar has worked equally hard for his son’s career. He gave up eight years of service at Bharat Dynamics Limited, where he was employed as a technician, to take voluntary retirement (at 52) and concentrate on his kid’s cricket. “My work timings were harsh — 8 am to 5 pm, which did not allow me to look after Sandeep’s coaching,” he explains, adding, “ever since Sandeep was born, after my four daughters, I wanted him to be a cricketer.”
He even changed Sandeep’s batting style from being a right-hander to left when he was only four years old. It helped that the perky Parmesh, now 65, is a fitness freak who still plays badminton and stays in shape. That all four of his daughters have done their MS in the US is a testimony to Parmesh’s perseverance and support from his homemaker wife.
In his moment of joy, Parmesh acknowledges help from all quarters though. “John Manoj Sir (former director of St John’s Sports Coaching Foundation in East Marredpally, Secunderabad) helped us a lot. He did not charge a single rupee for my son’s coaching at his academy. He even got Sandeep admitted to St Andrews School and facilitated half-freeship from the fourth standard itself,” he informs.
“Sandeep had also got a seat at TKR College of Engineering in the sports quota, without paying any donation. I am thankful to everyone,” Parmesh adds.
Sandeep made good use of the generosity to begin his senior career with a bang, by smashing a century on Ranji Trophy debut against Jharkhand in 2010. There has been no looking back since. Cricket also got him a satisfying job, as an Inspector in the Income Tax department.
Now, it’s all about raiding rival teams on ground....