Village lad smashes way to international fame

Advocate Krishan Pal Tewatia had never received so many phone calls in a single day as he did on Monday.

He had also never received so many visitors at his home in Sihi village in Faridabad, near New Delhi, as he did this week.

People have been expressing their gratitude to him after his only son Rahul Tewatia lit up the Indian Premier League (IPL), the world's most watched cricket tournament, last Sunday with a powerful knock that set up an improbable win for Rajasthan Royals in Sharjah.

The little-known leg-spinner and left-handed batsman from Haryana catapulted himself into international limelight by smashing 53 off 31 balls, including seven sixes.

The 27-year-old's heroics, after an indifferent start, took the Royals to a four-wicket win with three balls to spare against Kings XI Punjab in a high-scoring game.

"People are turning up in hordes at my house," said Krishan. "They tell me that Rahul is the 'son of the village'.

"I met so many people and received so many calls on Sunday that I got a headache. I am overwhelmed."

Tewatia's cricket story is like a roller coaster.

He has represented Haryana in all age-group national tournaments and has also turned out for Kings XI Punjab and Delhi Capitals in the IPL.

But, before Sunday, he had failed to make people sit up and notice his talent - with bat or ball.

Krishan said two people played key roles in Tewatia's transformation from village boy to global star.

"Rahul used to play with a plastic bat as a kid and my younger brother Dharamveer's friend Mukesh noticed that he had talent," said the proud father. "Mukesh suggested that we should encourage him to play cricket at a higher level.

"The other person who shaped his career was former India wicket-keeper Vijay Yadav."

When Tewatia turned eight, Krishan enrolled him at Cricket Gurukul, the academy run by Yadav.

"When he came to me, he was already bowling leg-spin and was a decent bat," said Yadav. "The most important thing that I noticed was his eagerness to play. He has 100 per cent positive attitude. His game suits the shorter formats."

Tewatia's life changed at the 2018 IPL auction. He was grabbed by Delhi Daredevils for an unexpected Rs3 crore ($560,00), following fierce bidding that also involved Kings XI Punjab and SunRisers Hyderabad.

Krishan, however, insists that his family's lifestyle has not changed.

"We haven't changed at all," he said. "I am happy with my small car."

Tewatia too maintained that he has miles to go and needs to learn a lot.

"The only motto at this hour is to improve myself," he said. "I strongly believe that work should never stop and there is scope for improvement each day. Each day is a new day."

Indo-Asian News Service

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