“Have a goal & work towards it”- My Take by Ajay Kumar Reddy, Captain, Blind Cricket Team
In My Take this week, we have Ajay Kumar Reddy, Captain of India's Blind Cricket team. Along with following his passion for cricket, this 29 year old works as the Assistant Manager for a leading national bank.
I was born at Guntur, a small town in Andhra Pradesh to a family of farmers. I had vision till the of age of four, but after an accident my eyes started swelling. I underwent a surgery which was a failure due to which I lost vision of my left eye completely. Until class 6, I was studying in a regular school. I still remember the day when I could not read anything written on the black board. My family took me to a doctor who confirmed that my right eye was also losing vision due to spread of infection. I could not continue in a normal school and later joined the Lutheran High School for the Blind., which changed my life for the best.
When I realised that I had fully gone blind, I used to be depressed and refused to mingle with the outside world. I was worried about what is in store for the future. A thousand thoughts came into my mind. I was always passionate about cricket. But after joining blind school is when I started taking it up seriously. I got better training and decided to take up cricket full-time.
My biggest dream was to represent India and play against Pakistan. In fact, I wanted to become a part of the national team for that.
Entry into professional cricket
Since I was at a Christian school, attending church on Sundays was important to us. Before and after church, we used to play cricket. In fact, our sessions used to last overnight. We play cricket until 3 am in the morning, get ready to attend church and again return back to playing. We had a mentor who was on immense support. He used to push us to do our best. He used to tell us that if our aim is good and we are dedicated, then nothing is impossible. His words still ring in my ears.
Later on, I became a part of Samarthanam Trust for the disabled. Their many projects for people with disabilities truly inspired me and I was glad to become a part of them. In the year 2010, they had taken over blind cricket in India. They conducted a selection camp and I got selected. That is how my journey begins in international cricket.
My journey towards following my passion was not easy. I had to beat many obstacles in my path. But winning for my country gives me immense joy and pride. My father also had a vision problem too. He was a farmer who was struggling to make ends meet. In spite of that, he used to buy me all sports equipment so that I can play till my heart's content. My family has always been my biggest support system. My wife and kid also stands by me through thick and thin.
"I have played for my state Andhra Pradesh and is now playing for my country. I visit normal and blind schools to give motivational talks. I believe that everyone must have a goal. In order to reach that goal, work hard. It does not matter whether you have a disability, nothing is impossible. Getting a good mentor and guide is equally important".