For an Indian cricket fan, the 2018 Nidahas Trophy is a sweet memory.
The tournament was not exceptional. India sent a team without a couple of stars and gave Rohit Sharma the leadership role. He took India to the final where his team was on the verge of losing. But then, Dinesh Kartik happened.
When he came on to bat, India needed 34 off 12 deliveries. Kartik scored 29 of them, including a last-ball 6 to win the final against Bangladesh. One of India’s best victories.
But this is not about him or the final. This is about a young talent who wasn’t having a great time. This is about Rishabh Pant.
Rishabh Pant was 18 years old when he represented India in U-19 WC 2016 held in Bangladesh. While others were just trying to score runs, this kid was scoring them fast. He struck 24-ball-78 against Nepal and 96-ball-111 against Namibia. Long story short- India had found a successor to Mahender Singh Dhoni.
With a country so passionate about the game, it is easy to falter against expectations. Every time Rishabh played, people expected fast runs. A 19-year-old boy understood nothing but to oblige his new fans. He tried and kept failing, spectacularly.
By the time Nidahas Trophy happened, Pant was 20 and on the fringes of the Indian cricket team. He was the next big thing and it was supposed to be a matter of time when the innings will come when he will announce himself. Nidahas trophy looked like a perfect tournament.
Unfortunately, it didn’t happen. Rishabh played the first 2 matches, did nothing of note, and was not selected for the rest of the tournament. In the second match, he scored 7 off 8. The criticism earlier in hush-hush and murmurs was getting louder. The kid was heartbroken and I think it was Akash Chopra on air when he said- “Imagine, being a 19-year-old and the world wants you to fail.”
This has stuck with me since then. Rishabh Pant was 20. He was a part of the Indian national cricket team and the world has already written him off. Do they know what they were doing when they were 19 or 20? Did they stop expecting from their kid who had failed in his teens? I sure was not doing anything important at that time. I was slogging my ass off for marks in my engineering. And that is what the majority of the world does.
Recently, another Indian cricket prodigy, Prithvi Shaw that he cried after he was dropped after a poor show in the first test when India recently toured Australia in late 2020. Again, Prithvi Shaw is just 21.
It is a common opinion these days that having IPL riches so early in their life; the young kids aren’t serious about their national careers. Moreover, test cricket is lost because of the fast, swagger-filled T20. Although there is truth in that but labeling these players of next-generation greedy and not dedicated enough is an insult.
Thanks to the covid induced lifestyle, few people have a lot of time with them. The easiest thing to do when you have lots of time is to become an armchair expert. And when it comes to cricket; this country has one on every corner.
People wanted Rishabh to fail, to make mistakes. It would not have done Indian cricket any good but it would have given them a lot of satisfaction and a common statement- “See, I told you so.” They wanted Prithvi to fail to give them false conviction about their theories.
The lesson from all this- people know nothing. And when it comes to you, let those decide who actually care for you. Some random uncle in the nearby grocery shop should not make you change your plans.
“Son, there is nothing in a startup. Find a job and get settled.”
“Son, why are you study mass communication? You should have done engineering.”
“Son, why are not you doing MBA? Graduation means nothing these days.”
I am sure you got the gist. This is not a very fair world. More often than not, you will meet people who care nothing about you. They will walk with you but given the first opportunity; they will run over you.
And I don’t want to make this sound pessimistic. But as somebody has said- “Prepare for the worst and hope for the best.”
Hope to meet the best guy always but be ready if you get the worst guy always. It will go a long way for you.