Cricket has always been known as the great leveller, where even the biggest names can fall, and many unknown players can announce themselves overnight with match-changing performances. Experiences and seniority don’t account for as much as performance in the game where every single day is a new battle.
Akshdeep Nath is no stranger to these battles. He has been pushing the envelope when it comes to cricket since he can remember. As a child prodigy, he went to a cricket academy at an age where most children are just learning to hold a bat and managed to hold his ground and play shoulder to shoulder with those much older to himself.
“If you go back to the time when I started going to a stadium; it was at my academy and I was maybe 7-8 years old,” recollected Akshdeep, “I used to be the youngest guy there, with all the others about 15-16 years old.”
But life is not all fours and sixes if you are challenging Goliaths day in and day out as young Akshdeep soon realised. The other players threw down quite a challenge for him and he had to face a baptism by fire early on in order to strengthen his game.
“Every second day I used to come back with an injury – bruised head, something on the helmet, or something else. I don’t remember much about those days, but yes, the injuries in the earlier days definitely give me goose bumps till date,” Akshdeep admitted.
“Everyone else was pretty older to me, so everyday I’d be sitting with an icepack or something.”
Instead of losing heart though, Akshdeep took it as a challenge, and was soon picked to represent India in the U-19 World Cup. The team took the cup home that year and Akshdeep’s career started to soar. He made waves on the domestic circuit as a youngster who could hold his own against any bowling attack with his flawless technique. Taking on the big guns has worked wonders for Akshdeep, and at 24-years of age, he continues to do so in the IPL.