Priyam Garg, who is leading India in the coming U-19 World Cup, scheduled to be held in January next year, said his father put in a lot of hard work to make sure that one day he could become a successful cricketer.
Naresh Garg changed jobs by giving up milk selling business to go into newspaper distribution to ensure that he could drop his son at the ground in the mornings.
“My father did more hard work, he did all the odd jobs that you can imagine… selling milk, driving school vans, loading goods, he ensured that I got a good life,” Garg said.
“He went through all for just to see me become a cricketer one day. He took me to Meerut and ensure that I got into a decent academy,” he added.
His father, who by his admission did not know much about the sport, added that any fears he may have had about his son making it was put to rest after a meeting with Rahul Dravid, the legend of Indian cricket.
“Every night, I would take Priyam in my van with me. We would have dinner and I would pick up the papers and drop them at many spots around the city and on the outskirts. By morning, we used to be present at the ground,” he recalled.
“I am not well-educated, what do I do know about cricket? But one day, I met Rahul Dravid, and he told me not to worry and that my son would go to places. I was happy that day,” said the budding cricketer’s dad.
Priyam’s journey has not been an easy one so far. He started as a fast bowler before focusing on his batting with coach Sanjay Rastogi, who was surprised with his stroke play.
But the biggest personal setback he faced was at the age of 11 when he lost his mother.
“I was very small to understand what was happening but as I grew up, there was a big gap, which has never been filled. My father and sisters took care of me, my father managed a lot for me,” Garg said.
As is the case with many youngsters in India, Garg mentioned Sachin Tendulkar as his biggest idol though he could not watch his hero at home because of not having a television.
“I would go to a showroom nearby and watch the matches in-crowd. It was due Sachin sir that I wanted to play cricket,” said the Meerut-based cricketer.