A journey from the slums to the under-19 cricket team of India is a dream come true for Bhopal’s 17-year-old Rahul Batham.
Rahul, a right-handed batsman and medium pacer born in Gwal Mohalla slum area at Roshanpura Square, idolised South African cricketer Jacques Kallis. “My ultimate dream is to fix my place in the Indian contingent as an all-rounder,” the cricketer said.
“Despite a humble background, my father always motivated me to focus on cricket only. I started playing gully cricket at the age of five years and got enrolled in Ankur Cricket Academy at eight years of age,” Rahul said.
Rahul’s father Rajendra Batham said, “When he held a bat for the first time, he was six-months-old. That day, I had decided that he would translate my dreams of becoming a successful cricketer into reality which I couldn’t have done due to responsibilities. Today, I am very happy that my son will represent the Indian team.”
“I learnt the basics of cricket under JP Tyagi sir. Two years ago, I got selected in Advance Academy School, Indore, where I brushed up my skills under chief coach Amay Khurasia sir.
“When I was selected in the Madhya Pradesh Under-16 team for the first time, I couldn’t play for the state due to injuries. Khurasia sir came to me and said I would play for India one day. Those words gave me the strength,” Rahul said.
Rahul’s mother Veena Batham said, “He cried whenever the Indian team lost, while he celebrated the team’s victory. He is made only for cricket.”
Expressing happiness over the success of his trainee, cricket coach JP Tyagi said, “Rahul is not only a brilliant cricketer but has also excelled in studies.”