Priyam Garg, who will lead India in the U-19 World Cup to be held in January next year, said his father put in a lot of hard work to ensure that he could become a successful cricketer one day.
Naresh Garg changed jobs, giving up their milk selling business to go into the newspaper distribution line of work to ensure he could drop his son to the ground in the mornings.
“My father did most of the 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 told The Indian Express.
“He went through all that just to see me become a cricketer one day. He took me to Meerut and made sure that I got into a decent academy.”
His father, who by his own admission didn’t know much about the sport, added that any fears he may have had about his son making it were put to rest after a meeting with Indian cricket legend Rahul Dravid.
“Every night, I would take Priyam with me in my van. We would have dinner and I would pick up the papers and drop them at various spots around the city and on the outskirts. By morning, we used to be at the ground,” he recalled.
“I am not well educated, what do I do know of cricket? But one day, I met Rahul Dravid and he told me not to worry and that my son would go places. I was happy that day.”
Priyam’s journey so far hasn’t been an easy one. He started out as a fast bowler before being convinced to focus on his batting by coach Sanjay Rastogi, who marveled at his stroke play.
But perhaps the biggest personal setback came at the age of 11, when he lost his mother.
“I was too small to understand what was happening but as I grew up, there was a big hole, which has never been filled. My father and sisters took care of me, my father sacrificed a lot for me.”
As is the case with many youngsters in India, Garg cites Sachin Tendulkar as his biggest inspiration even though he couldn’t watch his hero at home due to not having a television.
“I would go to a showroom nearby and watch the matches in the middle of a crowd. It was because of Sachin sir that I wanted to play cricket.”