When 27-year-old Ravi Varma,son of a cycle repair shop owner,went to Abu Dhabi four years ago for a job,he left behind his unfulfilled dream-representing India in a cricket World Cup. But Destiny had other plans-the lad may get his wish,albeit with a difference. Ravi has been named in the list of 43 probables that will play for the United Arab Emirates in the 2011 World Cup qualifiers.
For Kishori Lal,Ravis father,the news has brought back nostalgic memories of the days when the father-son duo shared a common dream. No sooner did the news arrive that Kishori Lal and his wife,Bimla Rani,started distributing sweets in the Dadumajra Colony. Ravi has seen tough times. There were times he would cry at not being picked for teams in Chandigarh. But he never gave up, said the proud Kishori Lal while describing how his son may actually play in a World Cup.
A talented middle-order batsman,Ravi has played for various teams in Mohali,Chandigarh and Himachal Pradesh. He played in club cricket for the local LIC Club and that proved to be a boon for him as the club secretary Deepinder Singh Chabbra helped him get a job in Abu Dhabi.
When Newsline contacted Ravi over the phone in Abu Dhabi,he said: I am happy that I have been selected in the probables list. I used to dream about donning Team Indias cap but now I want to represent UAE in the next World Cup.
He added,When I arrived in Abu Dhabi I had nothing with me. I started playing in a B-Division Trophy and graduated to the A-Division in the following year. Somehow,I managed to catch the attention of the Emirates selectors and they encouraged me.
In the entire process,the cricketer has not forgotten the special role of one man. Without Deepinder paaji,I would not have been here. He has given me a reason to live and realise my dream. He is my godfather, said Ravi.
At present,Ravi is attending a 3-month long fitness camp at the Sharjah Club in Sharjah. The 2011 World Cup qualifying matches are scheduled to be held in South Africa from April 1 and the top four nations from this event will qualify for the Cup.