The next edition of the U19 ICC Cricket World Cup is set to be staged in the rainbow nation- South Africa– at the turn of the decade in January-February. And, the teams have started to name their respective squads that will lock horns next year. The champions of the 2019 edition, India named their squad that will go to South Africa and defend the title.
Priyam Garg, a precocious talent from Uttar Pradesh will hope he joins the likes of Mohammad Kaif, Virat Kohli, Unmukt Chand, and Prithvi Shaw when he leads the Indian colts in South Africa. Garg has already become a rage courtesy his consistent performances both at the U19 level as well as for his domestic team UP.
The right-handed batsman has come a long way from being a cricket fanatic who had this unrelenting dream of playing for India to now a new batting prodigy in the ever-running factory of Indian batting. But, the teenager knows he wouldn’t have been here if not for the unrelenting support of his father.
“My father Naresh Garg drives a school van. I have three brothers and three sisters. I am the youngest in the family. My father didn’t have enough money to take care of such a big family and support my cricket career,” Priyam Garg was quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo.
Garg had a pretty difficult childhood. Hailing from an obscure village Quila Parikshitgarh, about 25 Km from Meerut, Priyam’s father is a school van driver. Naturally, considering the fact that they were three brothers and three sisters, and his father being the sole breadwinner, the economic condition of their home was relatively modest.
Priyam had first picked up a cricket bat when he was six years old. The young boy was in no time head-over-heels with the game. But, pursuing a cricket career for small towners is not easy. Cricket is an expensive game, especially when you are trying to hone your skills as a batsman. From expensive kits to moving to big cities for adequate training facilities to the fees of coaches, it proceeds to leave a big hole in your pocket. And, Garg’s family couldn’t afford it.
But, as is the case, parents can move mountains for their kids. Even though the financial condition did not allow Priyam Garg to pursue his cricketing aspirations, his father wasn’t going to let that happen. He had seen a spark in his son’s eyes; a spark so vibrant and unrelenting that it drove him to borrow money from his friends and arrange for little Priyam’s coaching. Priyam remembers it to this day.
“But seeing my love and dedication for the sport, he borrowed some money from his friend and bought me a cricket kit and arranged for my coaching. I started playing cricket and due to my father’s hard work today I’m captain of the under-19 team,” he added.
After fulfilling his mother’s dream, Priyam Garg wishes she was here to see it all
Priyam’s childhood was not only marred by his family’s relatively modest financial conditions but also with the tragic loss of his mother. Garg’s mother wanted his son to become a cricketer, something the teenager alluded to. “My mother died in 2011 and it was her dream that I play cricket for India and now that I am the captain of the under-19 team she is not here to see it. I regret that the most.”
Priyam Garg is already a regular in Uttar Pradesh’s side. The right-hander had a sensational start to his FC career in 2018 where he finished as the sides’ leading run-scorer (814 runs at 67.83) which also included two hundreds and a career-best of 206. He also sizzled for India C in the Deodhar Trophy, top-scoring with 77 in the finals. Garg also talked about his work ethics and his training routines besides also hailing his coach Sanjay Rastogi.
“I used to practice cricket for 7-8 hours a day while continuing my studies. Sanjay Rastogi, my coach in Meerut used to help me and because of that and my father’s efforts I was selected in the Ranji team in 2018,” Priyam said. And, like every teenage cricketer from India, Priyam too wants to meet Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar and delve into some insights from the great man. “My dream is to meet Sachin Tendulkar and take tips from him and wear the blue colours of team India one day.”
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