Coming from a humble background, the father of young leg-spinner Rahul Sharma, who has been picked in India's squad for next month's ODIs against England, wanted him to pursue academics but is glad that he chose to follow his dreams on the cricket field instead.
The 24-year-old Jalandhar-based bowler can't thank his family enough for the support he got in his days of struggle. "My dream has always been to play for India and wear the blue jersey.
Hard work and perseverance have paid off. Despite odds, I remained focused and that helped," Sharma told PTI. Sharing the ordeal he went through after suffering facial nerve damage last year, Sharma said, "It was a horrific night.
I was sleeping and suddenly I woke up to find right side of my face aching. I could not move my jaw and there was pain. The doctor later told me that my facial nerves had burst." With his cricketing career at stake, Sharma's grit and determination helped him fight the disorder. "God has been kind and I have been lucky to have the support of my seniors, my family and friends, which helped me overcome the difficult period of my life," said Sharma, who started under Devender Arora, who has also been off-spinner Harbhajan Singh's coach. Rahul's father Pradeep Sharma, an Assistant Sub Inspector in Punjab Police, recalled the days of his son's struggle.
"I always used to be after him urging him to study hard (Rahul is currently enrolled for a Masters degree). I never really knew too much about his cricket or what he was doing," he recalled. "All I knew the boy had great determination to achieve something and never lost his focus. He has been putting hours of practice at Burlton Park Stadium under Jalandhar District Cricket Association," he said.