India's blind cricketer Ajay Reddy delivers motivational speech to college students in Mumbai

Updated: Feb 10, 2018, 10:41 IST | Subodh Mayure

In a motivational talk to college students, India's blind World Cup-winning cricket captain Ajay Reddy urges them to chase their dreams

India's blind World Cup-winning captain Ajay Reddy
India's blind World Cup-winning captain Ajay Reddy

India's blind World Cup-winning cricket captain Ajay Reddy is a fine motivator to his team, and his leadership qualities backed by his all-round performance, saw Team India retain the title in Sharjah recently. However, yesterday the all-rounder motivated a bunch of students at the Narsee Monjee College of Commerce and Economics in Vile Parle, and is hoping they excel in their fields too.

During his motivational speech as part of the college's annual day activities, Reddy, 28, gave his own example of hardship and struggle as he embarked upon the game for the first time. It was lapped up eagerly by the graduate and master degree students. "I shared my experiences, my struggles and my poor family background, with the students. I explained to them how I became a cricketer against all odds. I told them how my parents dissuaded me from becoming a cricketer because we were poor. But I convinced them that it was the best thing for me and then worked hard towards achieving success in the game.

Right choice
"And finally, they realised that I was right. I told the students to chase their dreams and work hard to achieve them, just like me. Only passion is not enough, you must work very hard too," Reddy, a BA graduate, and manager of State Bank of India in Hyderabad, told mid-day yesterday.

Reddy hopes his speech can inspire at least a couple of the 100-odd youngsters who listened in rapt attention. "I think the students enjoyed my speech. I'll be more than happy if even one or two of them are able to chase his dream and change his future. "While the speech was hopefully motivational for the students, it was beneficial for me too, as I will cherish the experience of speaking to so many students from one platform."

Reddy, along with the Cricket Association for the Blind in India (CABI) officebearers, was scheduled to attend a press conference announcing the possible recognition of the CABI by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) at their Wankhede Stadium head office later yesterday, but a family emergency saw him head back home to Hyderabad instead.

Exciting times
"With BCCI's support, more blind cricketers will come forward and play this game which will only help strengthen Team India,"
said Reddy.

Finally, the most pleasing part of BCCI's possible recognition of CABI is that now blind cricketers will not have to part with their prize money as that will be taken care of by the Indian board, and Reddy is grateful for that. "Earlier, we had to voluntary contribute some amount from our prize money to assist in the functioning of our association [CABI], but now, with BCCI stepping in, we players need not worry about that. This is a huge relief for us," Reddy concluded.

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