Rahil Shaikh had to seek permission from his uncle to try his luck at cricket and earn a little extra money. Little did he realise that he’d make it to the Mumbai Ranji team within two years as well as breaking into the IPL with the Mumbai Indians.
The 23-year-old left-arm speedster worked as a supervisor in his uncle’s firm at Bandra, where he would prepare bills and challans. “The two years before I took to cricket in 2007 were tough. I had to support my family. My uncle was kind enough to let me go and earn money through cricket,” said Shaikh.
Shaikh made his Ranji debut late last year and in three Ranji matches, has taken nine wickets. Fresh from Durban, where along with eight others Shaikh underwent a three-week camp under Shaun Pollock and Jonty Rhodes, he is confident of a good show in the IPL and beyond.
“The fear was about how the wickets would be after having bowled on the slow Indian pitches. For the first two days, I bowled my natural style. Later, Shaun corrected me. He worked on my action so that I landed the ball at good-length areas.
“Earlier I was bowling far too short. I also learnt how to use the crease. Shaun said that the batsman should not be able to read the slower ones.”
Communicating in English was a problem for Shaikh and team manager Rahul Sanghvi had to act as his translator.
With cricket providing a better life for Shaikh, his immediate desire is to send his mother on the Haj pilgrimage.
“I would also like to buy a house with the IPL earnings. I did not imagine that I’d earn so much money through cricket.”
He dreams of sharing the new ball with idol Zaheer Khan in the IPL and then, make it to the national team in two years, ‘just like how I made it to the Mumbai team’.