I had nothing to lose – Akash Deep narrates emotional tale of his meteoric rise to prominence
Akash Deep bagged his maiden call-up for the national side in the longest format of the game as he was named in the squad for the final three Test matches of the series. He was playing for Bengal against Kerala in the Ranji Trophy when the call-up was announced.
The RCB ace quick has been phenomenal in the domestic circuit and as a reward for his overwhelming exploits, he was called up to the national squad to brave the might of England. Talking to PTI after his call-up, he spoke at length about his story of coming from a village where playing cricket was a crime to getting his maiden call-up in the national team.
Akash said, “I was hopeful that in the near future I might get a Test call-up if I keep performing but I didn't expect that it would come by the third match itself.”
Narrating his tale, Akash said, “In Bihar [suspended by the BCCI at the time], there was no platform and especially from the place where I came from, Sasaram, playing cricket was a crime. Lots of parents would ask their children not to mingle with Akash as he only plays cricket and your studies would go for a toss.”
He further added, “But I don't blame them. What would you have achieved playing cricket in a place like that? You would be wasting time and not even become a cricketer, and also ignore academics. Your future would be ruined and they were worried. So, were my parents."
Citing his father’s advice, Akash said, “Appear for Bihar police constable's exams or at least try for state government's Class IV staff [peons], my father used to say. He would fill up those government job application forms and I would go for exams and come back submitting blank forms. In my mind, while cricket was my passion, I just wanted to be happy and never thought about making it a career."
Akash continued, “My father and my brother died within six months. I had nothing to lose, and the motivation was that I had to take care of the family. I would play proper leather-ball matches for my club, but initially there was no money. So three to four days a month, I would play tennis-ball matches around the district and earn Rs 6000 per day. So I would earn 20,000 per month, which helped me run my expenses.”
He concluded by saying, “I never had any fixed coach. Saurasish Lahiri (current Bengal assistant coach), Arun Lal sir, Rano sir [Ranadeb Bose], all have helped me from time to time, and whatever I could learn, I have learnt."