"I'd prefer to stay in my room whenever I'm at home, but my parents coax me to take walks on the terrace or just go out," says Darshan Nalkande, who prefers to stay indoors after he returns home after the cricket season.

Photo: Darshan Nalkande/Instagram

Admittedly a shy and reserved person, Nalkande recharges himself at home like a typical man who has just got out of his teenage years. He may be in his early 20s, but he hasn't left the lure of the PlayStation that takes much of his time when he is in comfort in the city of Akola.

"I dislike taking walks on the terrace," he insists.

The all-rounder was so much of an introvert in his formative years that he decided against joining a residency academy in Nagpur when he was 13 years old.

"I was a little home-sick and had difficulty adjusting to new surrounding and new people," he admits, further explaining his reclusiveness.

However, Nalkande realized he had to overcome that aloofness, to bolster his cricketing career. They say lightning doesn't strike twice, but for young Nalkande a different story was waiting to be forged when he got selected for the same academy two years later.

"It was at this time that I started opening up a little and my bonding with my friends and teammates increased, after that I could automatically adapt to living independently," Nalkande adds.


The bowler was selected for the India U-19 team for the Asia Cup in November 2017 where he scored 38 runs and picked up three wickets in the two games that he played for his country. Back home in Akola, Nalkande had become a hero, shedding his shy boy image, revamped as the heartthrob of a city proud of its new cricketing hero.

"When I returned from the Asia Cup, I arrived at Akola using the train and was surprised to see the station crowded to the brim with people to welcome me. I was very ecstatic to see so many people there, people had even got garlands. My parents were, in fact, keen to get a dhol-baja, I had to restrain them from doing that.

"Around 400 people had come to the station, people from my family, people from the club, relatives, relatives of relatives almost everyone was there," reminisces Nalkande.

READ | First Cricket Memories: Darshan Nalkande's insistence to play up the ranks

It became even more festive when he got selected by Kings XI Punjab during the auction for the 2019 VIVO Indian Premier League.

"I was watching (the auction) live with my Vidarbha teammates in Jammu, and it was almost eight and my name had yet not been announced. I was worried that I might not get a chance but then my name was announced; and as soon as Kings XI Punjab raised their baton, everyone in the hotel room started screaming and celebrating without even a concern for what was happening in the auction after that."

However, it was back in the tiny Maharashtrian city of Akola that the IPL auction was most celebrated with Darshan Nalkande become a minor sports celebrity of the town overnight.

"After I got selected, there were posters of that news stuck in three or four places in the city. Everyone in the club now recognizes me, young kids come up to me and ask for advice. It is a surreal feeling," recalls Nalkande.

Guess it's understandable why this shy lad detests taking walks in his balcony.