Vidarbha shines through adversity

Vidarbha shines through adversity

Title defence

Vidarbha players celebrate after defeating Saurashtra in the Ranji Trophy final in Nagpur on Thursday. PTI

Aditya Sarwate, the man of the final, typified the triumph of unsung heroes in fashioning Vidarbha’s second successive Ranji Trophy title victory.

Vidarbha isn’t a team teeming with superstars or players who drive in glitzy cars to practice sessions even before they have played for India. Nothing wrong in that but when someone struggles his way to success, like many in this Vidarbha side, you value it that much more. Vidarbha’s 78-run win over Saurashtra on the final day of the finale here on Thursday is a tale of brave men rejoicing through adversity.    

Sarwate is a fine example of that. He was raised under difficult circumstances by his working mother after his father was rendered motionless following an accident when he didn’t even understand the gravity of the tragedy.

“If you don’t face tough circumstances, you tend to get complacent and start taking things for granted,” says Sarwate, who took 55 wickets for the season besides scoring 354 runs. “Obviously it was tough, but more than me, my mother has made a lot of sacrifices. My father suffered that accident (he has been paralysed ever since) when I was three years old. Since then, she looked after me, took care of my father and not even once did she discourage me from playing cricket.”

Sarwate isn’t the only player savouring the hard-earned success. There is another all-rounder Akshay Karnewar from Pandharkavada, a village in the Vidarbha region. His father drove Maharashtra state transport buses and if not for the VCA residential academy, his cricketing dreams would have been restricted to gully cricket in his village.

“I couldn’t even afford my bus tickets to come to Nagpur,” says Karnewar who was Vidarbha’s top scorer in the first innings of the final. “Some well-wishers paid for my kit and food in the beginning and today after all that hardship, I feel overwhelmed with all that I have achieved. My parents are happy and proud and that gives me immense joy,” he says.       

Karnewar, who stays at VCA academy accommodation, says he isn’t the only player benefited by the facility. Every year, several players from districts under Vidarbha are selected. Majority of them are from villages with poor economic background. “We work hard because we have to succeed. We don’t want to live a life of struggle,” Karnewar remarks.   

Wicketkeeper-batsman Akshay Wadkar too came up the hard way. He was completely taken care of by a VCA official who wants to remain anonymous. He was one of the main architects of Vidarbha’s win with 725 runs for the season.