Cricketers who beat poverty: It feels easy to adore someone at the helm of affairs, calling the shots, dictating the world and take inspiration from someone who has been ruling the roost for a while now. However, what seems difficult is to appreciate the underperforming cricketers hailing from impecunious backgrounds and squeezing their very best to make a living with very limited resources.
However, in the world of glitz and glam, not everyone who is being Richie Rich started there. There were a lot of shortcomings, sacrifices and hardships that they had to confront in this long and historic journey. These tales are made of the typical rags-to-riches stuff and invoke countless emotions in an individual reading these. We will take a quick look at five cricketers who defeated the monstrosity called poverty and went on to kiss the pinnacle of the world.
#5 Chris Gayle
We are all aware of the riches that the Universe Boss now brags about, a cool lifestyle, riches flowing everywhere and most importantly those colossal sixes raining down upon the hapless bowlers. However, Gayle didn’t really grow up in this lavish fashion. He had to confront severe challenges that included even stealing to fill his stomach.
In an interview, Gayle was misty-eyed while recounting his scarred childhood. He used to live with his parents and siblings in a mud-house. His father was in the police, while his mother sold peanuts to add some modest amounts in order to make day’s meet. Gayle used to scour the garbage to find charred remains of whatever food could assuage his appetite. He would even sell plastic bottles that he found from the garbage to put some food on the platter. It was cricket that bailed him out. Lucas Cricket Club spotted the talent in him, honed him to perfection and unleashed him to the world. The rest they say is history.
#4 Dale Steyn
Despite entering into an era of sheer dominance where Steyn rocked and rolled the cricket roster with some intimidating displays, the deadly pacer started from an extremely humble background. He debuted in a period that was witnessing the twilight of Shaun Pollock, Makhaya Ntini and Allan Donald, one of the fiercest fast bowling troikas of the world at that point in time.
The Rainbow Nation introduced the mighty fast bowler in Dale Steyn who left the world starstruck with a gentry of fast bowling that left the world reeling on its knees. However, when he started playing cricket, he lacked the money to buy proper and new cricketing shoes. In an interview, he even admitted to imploring Shaun Pollock to lend his shoes so that he doesn’t falter in his very opening match. He went onto claim three prized scalps, exuding fire on his very opening day to the world.
#3 Shoaib Akhtar
One of the most gifted fast bowlers of the first decade of the 21st century, Shoaib Akhtar would go on to belt out deliveries that would make even the best batters tremble at the face of his pace. His background in the youth wasn’t as impressive as it later became.
He used to stay in a family with his parents and kids where the roof needed a constant fix, given the woeful condition. In fact, such was the case that it crashed down upon the family on one pouring monsoon night. He didn’t even have the money to get a cycle and would regularly walk 2 hours to travel back and forth from the stadium. The day he appeared on his first trial, he had to request the bus conductor so that he should allow him to sit atop the rood of the bus. Only if the bus conductor knew who had he allowed to be a passenger on the bus.
#2 David Warner
One of the most aggressive and prolific Australian openers, David Warner travelled a million miles from working a job till 3 at night and attending school at 7 in the morning and was finally successful in manifesting him into one of the best cricketers of the world.
As a ten-year-old, Warner used to reside in a housing-commission flat in Matraville and his conditions were such that his family even couldn’t afford to buy a bat. After a lot of struggles, Warner’s family finally managed to buy a bat, and he had to take extra caution in order to ensure that the bat remained in a piece. He was also working a job at a store until 3 am at night and would then go onto be a paper delivery boy on the weekend. However, he found his salvation in cricket, and it was this sport that won him his due recognition.
#1 Mohammad Siraj
In his initial days of cricket, Siraj won Rs 500 for claiming fivers. In one particular match, he notched up 9 scalps and as an award was offered the same amount. He finally found his salvation when IPL embraced him for a sky-high figure of Rs 2.6 crore.
He is the son of an auto-rickshaw driver and going by the earnings of the calling, cricket is only a tall order with its over-expensive gears. He was one of the hottest topics of debates when India didn’t pick him up in the swinging fettle of Southampton for the WTC final, given his ability to conjure some magical movement.