Cricket gets Al-Barkaat's Rajesh an education

Mar 15, 2013, 10:02 IST | Sundari Iyer

Rajesh Sardar of Al-Barkaat MMI (Kurla) comes across as any normal inter-school cricketer. But the 11-year-old left-arm spinner, who took 4-43 on Day Three of the Giles Shield final against IES VN Sule Guruji (Dadar) at the Brabourne Stadium yesterday, has an interesting tale about how he got into playing inter-school cricket

“My father (Santosh) was unemployed until last year before he got a job as a watchman in Dadar. We survived on whatever my grandmother earned from selling fish. That’s the reason I was never sent to school.

I didn’t even know what a school looked like, until June last year,” Rajesh told MiD DAY yesterday, after Al-Barkaat, who posted 444-8 in their first innings, bowled out their opponents for 164 and then reduced them to 14-2 as they followed on.

Rajesh Sardar, who claimed 4 wickets in the Giles Shield final yesterday. Pic/Suresh KK

Rajesh, a Govandi resident, was spotted while playing cricket across in the maidans in his area, by coach Digambar Pardale, who took him to Al-Barkaat coach Nafees Khan for admission into the school with a promise that he would play cricket for them.

“Nafees saw him play and agreed to talk to the school authorities, who agreed to admit him on a condition that he be separately tutored before being enrolled into Class V,” explained Pardale.

And the left-arm-spinner has lived up to the school’s expectations. He has chipped in consistently with a wicket or two in each of Al-Barkaat’s league matches before yesterday’s significant four-for. “People called me chuha (rat) as my family survived on leftovers. Earlier, I used to feel bad, but now I am proud that this rat can eat up the opposition,” Rajesh signed off.

Brief scores: Al-Barkaat MMI (Kurla) 444-8 vs IES VN Sule Guruji (Dadar) 164 (Rajesh Sardar 4-43, Shabaz Qureshi
3-23) & 14-2. 

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