Ravi Bishnoi’s rise to stardom is yet another archetypal small-town Indian story of a young boy, whose unrelenting love and passion for the game and desire battled all the odds to give wings to his dream of becoming a top-quality cricketer.
Bishnoi was at the height of his powers in the 2020 U-19 World Cup, lighting up the tournament with his aggressive spin bowling. He finished as the leading wicket-taker [17 wickets in six games] in the quadrennial event and very nearly took the defending champions to titular heist courtesy his game-changing spell against Bangladesh.
The Rajasthan leg-spinner, who is celebrating his 20th birthday today, is now gearing up for his maiden stint with the Kings XI Punjab [KXIP] in the upcoming edition of the Indian Premier League but do you know, two years ago, Ravi Bishnoi wasn’t even sure of getting a place in the Rajasthan U-19 side.
For Bishnoi, a wee lad with a wild smile and a wicked googly, it wasn’t easy to convince his father, who was a headmaster, of pursuing a career in sports. Apart from that, the other obstacle was that he didn’t have a place to practice. It was at this point that he and his two friends decided to start an academy. The problem was that they couldn’t even afford a JCB to level the field.
Ravi Bishnoi recalls his heartwarming story of struggle, grit and passion
But, as they say, where there is a will, there is a way. And, Bishnoi and his friends proved that to the hilt as they took it upon themselves to level the field by clearing all the rocks before leveling the player surface. And, thus Spartans Cricket Academy was built.
“Our ground used to be just a patch of barren land filled with rocks. We cleared those rocks ourselves because back then we couldn’t afford a JCB truck. Then, we planted the grass on the ground ourselves, the special red mud needed for the wicket was also ordered by us, and we leveled the playing surface as well,” Ravi Bishnoi was quoted as saying by the Kings XI Punjab’s official website.
Bishnoi initially wanted to become a fast bowler but it was a ‘googly session’ which piqued his interest in the art of leg-spin. However, challenges did not end here for Bishnoi. He was ignored by the selectors in age-group trials for two years and it was only after his coaches pleaded with the selectors to give him a chance that paved way for the leggie making his U-19 debut in the 2019 Challenger Trophy.
Bishnoi recalled the ordeal and efforts and relentless support of his coaches at the time.
“I felt like I was not able to do anything as a cricket player, not getting any results for all this hard work, but it was my coaches who told me that up and downs are part and parcel of the game and motivated me to continue playing. For three years then I was trying to break into the U-19 Rajasthan team, just waiting for that one chance to prove myself,” Ravi Bishnoi recalled.
‘’At these trials too, I was initially overlooked by the selectors but my coaches requested them to give me another chance through which I was picked in the U-19 Rajasthan squad,” he further added.
A bowl out that’ll bowl you over! 😍
— Punjab Kings (@PunjabKingsIPL) September 5, 2020