‘This is why I’m playing cricket in the world’ – Jharkhans coach Dinesh D’Souza
Jharni’s journey from a village of 50 people in Bihar’s Jharshetra district to an international cricket academy was one of the greatest in India’s history.
It was also one of his most difficult.
The 26-year-old’s family were poor and his father, an illiterate labourer, was in debt to his employers, who could not provide food.
The only source of income was from selling fruit from his village, but even this was not enough.
So he started coaching.
Jharnis father, who had been in debt, started looking for a job.
It took him about a year to find a full-time job.
After he secured the job, his family returned to Bihar.
When he started playing cricket, the Jharpur Stadium in Patna became the centre of his life.
The first day, Jharks father came to see him and asked him to take the field.
Johars father was shocked.
‘You’re playing in a stadium?’ he asked.
‘What is the meaning of playing cricket?’
Jharkhari, who was then 16, was not sure what to say.
But his father said, ‘This must be the best way to learn.
You must know the rules and get to know the pitch.
You have to learn the game and you have to practise and practise and practice.’
Jharpuras father was not satisfied.
‘The only thing I can do for you is to do the game,’ he said.
Jhwarkhari started playing the game on the field and he was rewarded with an international scholarship to Mumbai.
His first Test came against England, and Jhairs father saw his talent.
He was also invited to the World Cup, where he played in England.
Jhs father gave up playing cricket to take up teaching.
His son has a master’s degree in the field of education and is also working as a teaching assistant at a high school.
Jhpans father, too, is a teacher, and he is happy to help Jhares son in his endeavour.
‘If I get an opportunity to teach, I’ll take it,’ he says.
Jdharkhir is the youngest of three children.
His father’s family is from Bihar, which was one the poorest states in India.
He had to work to survive and had to buy clothes from his mother and brother to make ends meet.
Jhawar, who is also in the eighth grade, says the only reason he wanted to become a cricket player was to help his family.
‘I want to be like the kids that they used to play with.
I want to go to a good school, get good grades, do well in school and go to college.
But I want my family to be happy and I want them to be able to enjoy cricket,’ he adds.
Jwarkhhari is the eldest of four children, and his mother, who lives in the same village as his father.
Jhwarkhari’s father works at a factory and is always at home with his wife and children.
He works hard to help the family.
Jbhary, a 19-year old who plays for the Patna team, says his father always wanted to help and help others.
‘He’s always been very humble and caring.
His motivation is always the same,’ he explains.
Jkhwari, a 24-year man, is studying at a college in Patnam.
His parents, who are both illiterate, are worried that their sons education may not be able pay off.
Jhayar’s father, a farmer, works on a farm.
‘My mother is working full time and the money is not there.
We are struggling with the debt,’ he complains.
Jhaare, a 16-year boy, has a similar story.
He started playing football at a primary school in Bihar.
He and his friends started playing as well, and when they went to a school in Patnampura, they were shocked to find the students in the class wearing their school uniform and playing football.
‘We asked them what they were doing and they told us that they were practising cricket and had not gone to school.
They told us they would not have played football had they not been given a scholarship,’ he remembers.
Jhar, a 15-year girl, is also a football player.
She played football for three years and was invited to a football camp in Patnarum Bagh.
‘This camp was where my family had to practice, so I had to do as well.
My parents also came and watched me play football,’ she says.
‘Even now I am very happy and feel happy.
I am playing football for the first time in the village.’