Updated: October 1, 2018 12:09:12 pm
Avesh Khan is sitting in a posh hotel in Vadodara after a four- wicket haul against the visiting West Indies side in a warm-up game. On a pitch which welcomed batsmen with open arms, Avesh looked different.
Had someone asked Avesh six years ago whether he will be staying at such a fancy hotel, he would have certainly said ‘no chance’.
When Avesh was 14, his family faced a sudden turn of events which it was not prepared for. Avesh’s father Mohd Ashique Khan had a small paan shop by the roadside in Indore, which local authorities brought down to widen the road.
Avesh remembers the day till date, his father was jobless. The mood at home was suddenly mournful. The road construction began, as did the family’s struggles for the next two years. “Gumti (paan shop) se papa 500 rupees day kama lete they, ek din sab toot gaya. Suddenly for the next two years, life was full of struggle. I told myself, ‘kuch karna hi padega, aisa nahi chalega’,” he recalls.
Avesh was trying hard to make it to a higher level in cricket but somewhere things weren’t going to plan. There was no money in the pocket and no backing. His father was a passionate about cricket but Avesh says, he just couldn’t break in despite his best efforts.
“My father has a great understanding of cricket. But I wanted to excel to make my family happy again. Sabke liye yeh khel tha but for me, it was the source to bring back happiness in my family,” Avesh says.
The budding fast bowler wasn’t getting a break in the district team despite doing well in club games. It was then that a selection trial took place at former India batsman Amay Khurasiya’s academy in Indore and Avesh was picked for it. Khurasiya was so impressed with the boy that he requested state selectors to try him in the Madhya Pradesh under-16 team. He was picked and looking back, Avesh says “Zindagi change hona shuru hui”.
His family was worried though. They always advised him to save whatever he earned, not spend it blindly.
“I remember we used to get 100 rupees allowance in the under-16 team. We had a 17-day camp and I got 1,700 rupees. I didn’t spend it. I went home and gave it to my grandmother, who broke down. Boli ‘ab tu samjhdar ho gaya hai’,” he recalls.
His father has ensured Avesh kept his feet grounded. As he went to play for India under-19, India A and in the Indian Premier League, his cricketing career has slowly taking shape. Life was coming back to normal for the family, but as he was trying to make a mark in junior circuit, his father had to borrow 5 lakh rupees for the wedding of Avesh’s eldest sister.
It was then that Avesh was picked for the India under-19 World Cup team which travelled to the UAE. The team didn’t clinch the title but Avesh was happy that on his return, he could repay his father’s ‘karz’. Two years later, he was again picked for the India under-19 team for the World Cup coached by Rahul Dravid.
“My mother always said, I have to ensure that money earned is spent properly. Mujhe ghar ka dekhna hai especially after my father lost his gumti and there is no fixed job. My father never allows me to buy a fancy car or fancy clothes. Once, I bought jeans for 4000 rupees, and he said ‘paisa aaram se kharch karo’. For a middle-class family, every penny counts. I still have a scooter which I use for going to practice, sab bolte hain ‘car le le’, mein baat taal deta hoon. Even during Eid, we don’t spend much. My family says first I need to get stable in life,” he says.
Soon, life took another turn for the better when he earned `70 lakh in IPL-11. The money ensured Avesh could get his old house repaired.
The other day, a trip to the shop with his mother which made both of them nostalgic.
“There is a cycle shop near my house. A few years ago, I bought a second-hand bicycle because we didn’t have enough money to buy a brand new one. On that cycle, I used to travel some 20-odd kilometers for practice and return. Jab bhi woh dukaan dekhta hoon, I just smile, life has suddenly changed,” Avesh says.
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