“Nothing comes easy, you have to work for it” - My Take by Somjeet Singh, Captain, India Wheelchair Cricket Team
In My Take this week, 23-year-old Somjeet Singh, captain of India's Wheelchair Cricket Team and a pioneer of the game in India traces his journey as a cricketer.
I was detected with a spinal tumour at birth. When I was barely six months old, I underwent a surgery after which I was able to walk to an extent. I led a normal life, just like any other kid by running around and playing. But slowly, I started feeling the after effects of my surgery. By the age of nine, I fell down frequently. Soon, I was paralysed though I had some body movements.
I used to undergo regular physiotherapy sessions that helped me a lot. I completed my schooling and did a Bachelors in commerce and science. Now, I am pursuing my masters in social work. I am glad that I could be instrumental in the formation of wheelchair cricket in India. Many youngsters are now coming forward to check out wheelchair cricket which is a great sport.
Ever since childhood, I was a cricket enthusiast. I started taking up cricket seriously in the year 2014. A few of us who are wheelchair users and passionate about cricket got together and looked into various ways through which we can develop wheelchair cricket. On world disability day, 3 December in the year 2015, we organised an event to see how the responses are going to be. We realised that wheelchair cricket has a bright future in India.
Today, there are a handful of organisations that are training aspiring wheelchair cricketers across India. There are 17 state associations with over 30 players in each team. That says it all!
I have captained nine international matches till date, of which we won eight. Every match is a learning experience where you get to know something new. Even though I play for Uttar Pradesh, I want to shift my focus completely to playing international cricket.
"I believe that new and upcoming talents must also get a chance. So I am moving aside for them to step in and learn new things at Uttar Pradesh. Unless leadership is shared, people cannot learn things, especially about something like wheelchair cricket which we are still exploring".
Even though I hail from Lucknow, I am currently living in Orai. I have a lot of support from my parents and family members. They have stood by me through thick and thin and their mental support has worked wonders for me.
Many youngsters come up to me and tell me that they want to become a part of international cricket. It is not as simple as it sounds. I suggest them to start from the basics by becoming a part of their local team and then looking out to grow. Nothing comes easy. You have to work for it. It is equally important to become competitive to make your own mark in any sport.