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Chetan Sakariya - A tale of perseverance and hardships

Last updated on 13 Apr 2021 | 11:57 AM
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Chetan Sakariya - A tale of perseverance and hardships

The 23-year-old made his IPL debut for Rajasthan Royals against Punjab Kings

"You know his skill was on display but it was really wonderful to watch him bowl well in such a high-scoring match. He's always smiling, always in the game. He is a simple guy, and he's had ups and downs in life and he's here to enjoy his cricket and our job is to support that."

The "He" here Rajasthan Royals team director Kumar Sangakkara talking about is Chetan Sakariya. The young left-arm seamer from Saurashtra made his Indian Premier League debut in a high-scoring affair against Punjab Kings on Monday (April 12). In a match where a total of 428 runs were scored, Sakariya finished with impressive figures of 3/31. The 23-year-old bowled his heart out and dismissed the likes of KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal and Jhye Richardson. He was acquired by RR for INR 1.2 crore, but the journey prior to that was not easy for Sakariya.

Who is Chetan Sakariya?

Sakariya is someone who is accurate and can swing the ball both ways. He has also got quite a few variations, that were on display against Punjab in the final stage of the first innings. The left-armer hails from Vartej, a small town 10 kilometers away from Bhavnagar in Gujarat. Sakariya, who wanted to be a batsman when he was young, came through the ranks playing tennis-ball cricket.

Domestic record

He made his debut for Saurashtra in 2018 and played a massive role in their maiden Ranji Trophy title win last year. The 23-year-old had a superb Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy 2020-21, picking up 12 wickets in five games at an economy of just 4.9. Prior to his IPL debut, Sakariya had played 16 T20s, 15 first-class encounters and seven List A games. However, it was his performance in the last edition of SMAT that forced everyone to sit up and take notice.

While he was playing for Saurashtra in SMAT 2020-21, Sakariya lost his younger brother, who committed suicide three weeks prior to the auction. "I hope nobody goes through the pain and struggles we went through. My second child, a son who was a year younger to Chetan, committed suicide a month ago. Chetan was playing the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy at that time. We didn’t inform him about his brother’s death for the first 10 days as we didn’t want his game to be affected. All we told him was that his father wasn’t keeping well," Sakariya's mother told

"Every time Chetan would call to ask about his father’s health, he would ask us to make him speak to his brother. But I'd change the topic. I wouldn't let him speak to his father too because I knew my husband would tell him the truth. But one day, I broke down on the call. After knowing of his brother’s death, Chetan didn't speak to anybody for a week. Neither did he eat. The two brothers were very close."

Early days

Coming from a humble background, Sakariya had to work as a salesman in his uncle’s bookstall to fund his cricket training, while his father was an auto-driver in Vartej. His father had to shut down his business due to ill-health and since then Sakariya has been the lone breadwinner for his family. His parents wanted him to be a government officer but Sakariya got support from his uncle and continued playing cricket. He trained at the Sir Bhavsinhji Cricket Academy, a go-to place for most of the budding cricketers around Bhavnagar.  

The left-armer featured for Saurashtra six years ago in the Cooch Behar Trophy, picking up 18 wickets in six encounters. His performance in the Cooch Behar Trophy helped him earn a scholarship and an opportunity to work on his action and fitness under Glenn McGrath at the MRF Pace Foundation. His journey was filled with roadblocks as he had to work hard to make ends meet. He didn't even have proper cricket shoes and it was Sheldon Jackson who gifted him his first pair of boots.

Was he in touch with other IPL teams?

He was a net bowler for Royal Challengers Bangalore last season, and was also invited for trials by Mumbai Indians and Rajasthan prior to the 2021 edition. It was Bangalore and Rajasthan who bid for him in the auction, with the latter grabbing him for INR 1.2 crore.

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