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Lorry cleaner cleans up big IPL money

Saugata Mukhopadhyay & Urvashi Sibal | March 8, 2008, 12:28 PM IST

Cuddapah: From cleaning lorries to getting a berth on the Indian Premier League (IPL) Hyderabad team, P Vijaykumar has come a long way from his remote village in Cuddapah district in Andhra Pradesh.

A resident of Paidikaalva village of Cuddapah district, the 21-year-old Vijaykumar is an unlikely star.

But over the last two years, he has carved out a dream for himself - playing Ranji Trophy and now he is set to hit the national scene with an IPL berth that's left him clean bowled.

"I didn't even know what IPL was when I got selected. Just a few days ago, my seniors explained to me what IPL is all about. I didn't even tell anyone at home that I got selected. When I was playing for Ranji, my only goal was to play well and get maximum wickets," says Vijaykumar.

Vijaykumar studied up to the ninth standard in the local government school, where he also doubled up as the cook who made the mid-day meals.

After school, it was time to indulge in his love for cricket and the pace bowler drew a lot of flak from home for it.

His father, David, a construction labourer and mother Sarawathi, a small time vegetable vendor, would yell at him to pull up his socks.

"When my son used to play cricket I used to scold him saying, how will you survive if you keep playing games? How will we eat if you just go to school and play cricket and cook in the school? I used to ask him all this," Saraswathi says.

But with Rs 60 lakh in his kitty and a three-year contract with the IPL, the family's fortunes seem set to change because of Vijaykumar's hard work and passion.

"He's done not just our village, but the entire district proud," Saraswathi says.

For a person who didn't even dream of playing beyond the Ranji, Vijaykumar will now rub shoulders with international stars like Andrew Symonds, Adam Gilchrist and Chaminda Vaas.

And a place in the Indian team, too, doesn't seem too far away

(With inputs from Hussain)

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