BRAVEHEART: Injured pacer fights to keep cricket dream alive

Feb 28, 2014, 09:05 IST | Sundari Iyer & Tanuj Lakhina

mid-day visits Ulhasnagar-based fast bowler Mohsin, who injured his head in a horrific train accident in 2004, and discovers he has made near-negligible recovery since

As we make our way through the bylanes from the Ulhasnagar railway station towards Vir Tanaji Nagar walking past plenty of small manufacturing units, we reach the doorstep of Hussain Shaikh who welcomes us with a smile.

Mohsin's sister Nilofer helps him drink water. Pics/Sameer Markande
Mohsin's sister Nilofer helps him drink water. Pics/Sameer Markande 

Upon entering his home, we notice jeans strewn on the ground and plenty of packets for them to be packed into. Shaikh guides us to the upper level of his small residence where we meet his wife Mehrunissa, his daughter Nilofer and sitting on the sofa is Mohsin.

Mohsin (23) cannot speak, move without support or perform any daily tasks on his own. Shaikh introduces us to Mohsin and he welcomes us with a smile. Mohsin is an ardent Sachin Tendulkar fan and has had the opportunity to meet the 'Little Master'. But sadly in unfortunate circumstances — at Hinduja Hospital in 2004.

On May 28, 2004, Mohsin (then 14) a right-arm under-15 pacer, carrying his kit and a bottle of water, was returning from Dombivli to his home in Ulhasnagar where he was part of a Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) summer camp. Little did he know that he had possibly bowled his last delivery.

He fell off the train before Vitthalwadi station where a constable found him in unconscious state and took him to a Kalyan hospital. Later he was treated at the Sion Hospital and then shifted to Hinduja Hospital.

Shaikh (58) has been trying desperately to make ends meet to facilitate proper treatment for his son's head and leg injuries. "We have been in the doldrums since the day he fell off the train. I stopped working for two-and-a-half years. We sold off our four-acre land and also a house we had in Osmanabad.

"Even then, the situation was so dire that we sold off our silver, copper and brass utensils for our son's treatment. It was only after two years when we were still finding it extremely difficult to sustain that a family friend suggested that we start a small packaging business.

Mohsin's father Hussain and mother Mehrunissa
Mohsin's father Hussain and mother Mehrunissa 

"Today we are able to earn enough to have two square meals. But our meagre earning of Rs 150 per day isn't enough to afford paying for physiotherapy sessions or taking him to a neurosurgeon. Last year he had a fall and had fever. As we didn't have enough money to get him admitted to the hospital, we took help from the mosque to collect the medical expenses of Rs 20,000," he said.

He added: "Earlier, he was a kid so we were able to easily carry him from one place to another, but now as he has grown older, he is become heavier (Mohsin weighs between 60-65kgs) and we find it difficult to even make him walk four steps."

Mohsin's mother Mehrunissa (56) helps her husband in the packaging work besides doing all the household chores and taking care of her son. But multi-tasking has taken a toll on her health. Despite being a diabetic, she doubles up as the physiotherapist for Mohsin. She understands her son even though he cannot speak a word apart from the infrequent 'mamma'.

Through gestures...
"He is unable to move or speak, but is capable of understanding what we converse with him. If he wants to eat an egg, he gestures a zero with his hand and if he wishes to eat chapati, he tries to make a circle to tell us to feed him so.

A young Mohsin Shaikh
A young Mohsin Shaikh 

"Our adversity has taught us many things. We do not earn enough to have a full-time helper to take care of him or for that matter a physiotherapist. As we couldn't afford to pay for either of the two, we learnt how to do it ourselves and also clean his wounds when he had bed sores."

Mohsin's love for the sport is evident even today as the only body part he's able to move without help is his right arm buoyed by years of bowling. "There are three things he likes to watch on television — cricket, WWE and cartoons. He is so passionate about cricket that if an Indian player gets out, he stomps his feet in frustration. His heart still beats for cricket," said Mehrunissa.

Still cricket-crazy
Recollecting what Mohsin told him 15 days before the accident, Shaikh said, "Mohsin told me, 'In two years time, you will see me on TV playing for India.' Little did we know that he would never be able to hold a ball or a bat ever again."

His parents have done it all from physiotherapy, visiting pilgrimages to trying ayurveda. Shaikh said: "We have done everything from taking him to Haji Ali to Kerala for ayurvedic treatment. Earlier, he couldn't move a muscle, but after the ayurvedic treatment he is able to stand firm.

But we didn't have the money to continue the sessions. A 28-day session costs Rs 1.5 lakh. They have assured us that same type of sessions thrice a year, for three years would result in Mohsin being able to walk by himself. We wish for that dream to be fulfilled before we die."

His elder sister Nilofer, who got married last year, had come home to spend time with her brother. She said, "Earlier me and my elder sister (Uzma) could contribute to the household earnings. After our marriage, we have our respective families to take care of. The only thing that gets a smile on his face is when we talk about our childhood."

Meanwhile, coach Mobin Shaikh said, "Mohsin was a talented bowler and he had a bright future. It was a rude shock when we got to know about the accident. I just hope and pray that people come forward and help the family financially so that we can see him walk soon."

When he visited Mohsin in hospital in 2004, Tendulkar reportedly told him, 'Bowl to me when you get well.' Mohsin has not been able to 'achieve' that. But then, where there is life, there is hope.

> A constable found him in an unconscious state; took him to a Kalyan hospital
> Mohsin cannot perform any daily tasks on his own
> Parents can't afford physiotherapy sessions

Mohsin's father Hussain can be contacted on 9767414924

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