Getting Candid with Sonu Sharma
Raised in a middle class family,Sonu Sharma had dreamt of becoming a cricketer from his early childhood. Taking forward his father’spassion for cricket, he went onto have an excellent career as a left arm bowler and played alongside the likes of Yuvraj Singh, M. S. Dhoni. He is currently associated with the Yuvraj Singh Centre of Excellence. One World News got a chance to get candid with him.
Mr. Sonu Sharma
Tell us something about yourself?
My name is Sonu Sharma. I have played Ranji Trophy for 10 years. After that I played Deodhar Trophy for North Zone. I also represented Rest of India against the touring South Africa under-19 side. I have played 22 four-day matches and 50 One Day matches. I have one of the better economies in One day matches. I have been regularly playing for Air India cricket team for past 22 years. I have played alongside international players like Harbhajan Singh, Yuvraj Singh, VVS Laxman, M S Dhoni etcetera.
How did you start playing cricket?
My father is a cricketer and he is very passionate about cricket. I started out as a kid fetching balls from boundary lines. Then I started fielding and I enjoyed it. After some time, my father’s friend, Mr. Kishore Kumar Sharma, who was a coach at that time, saw me and immediately told my father to send me to him.
Sonu Sharma took 10 wickets in an innings
Who provided you with the coaching in your initial days?
In the initial days I used to go with my father and watch him play. He was the one who taught me how to hold the ball and the right grip. He then introduced me to my coach Mr. Kishore Kumar Sharma. After that my coach taught me everything right from the basics. Thanks to him, I am earning my bread and my life is centred around sports.
When did you manage to get into first class cricket?
It was the year 1995 when I played my first First-class match. Ajay Jadeja was my captian in my debut. I made my debut in the city of Gurgaon. The match was against Delhi. Delhi had a very good side with players of the likes of AtulWasan, Manoj Prabhakar, Raman Lamba, Sanjeev Sharma, Nikhil Chopra.
Any particular cricketer who inspired you or any one you follow?
I am inspired by a lot of cricketers. Honestly speaking, the cricket fraternity is very big. I like aggressive cricketers. I am very inspired by Vivian Richards. He was a very fierce cricketer. When I started playing, Ajay Jadeja captained me and I used to watch him and the way he went about things. I also used to follow the great Pakistani fast bowler WasimAkram. These are some of the cricketers that I like.
Vivian Richards was his inspiration
Any particular moment that you would like to share with us?
Yes. At the time when I played Ranji Trophy I got injured at a certain point in my career. When I got fit, unfortunately I couldn’t make a comeback. Then I started playing in England, the Surrey Championship. I played for Epsom Cricket Club for seven years. And I had the rare feat of taking 10 wickets in an innings back then against Ripley Cricket Club. It’s a great moment and I enjoy it. It gives me great satisfaction to have done that. After you have retired and contemplate the things you did in your career, things like these make you feel content.
What was your best cricketing moment?
I played in under-16 team and scored 109 batting at number 6 position. At that time MuraliKarthik played against me. Scoring a century is a special feeling for a bowler.
What are your views on the Indian line up for World Cup 2015?
Honestly speaking and as a true cricketer I am not satisfied with the team. I know we have to be positive and the selectors have given the opportunity to some talented young players but for a big tournament like the World Cup,experience plays a very crucial role. Also, somebody like Yuvraj Singh should have been picked. He has proven himself on so many occasions and everyone knows that he is a big tournament player. He has scored tons of runs in Ranji Trophy. He was the man of the series in India’s triumph in 2011 World Cup. I am not saying that you directly send him to the World Cup but he could have been sent for the Tri Series currently taking place.I also know picking VirenderSehwag and Gautam Gambhir would’ve been difficult but you could have at least tested both of them in the current Tri Series. An Indian team with a VirenderSehwag or a Gautam Gambhir at the top of the order would have been a much stronger team. We lack in the experience department in bowling, both fast as well as spin bowling. RavindraJadeja is unfit until now and if he is made to directly play at the World Cup, it could prove costly.
Work Hard is his mantra for success
If you had to choose four semi-finalistsfor the World Cup 2015, which of the team would you pick?
The way South Africa is playing, they have to be the number one team going into the tournament. At number two I would pick Australia, based on the current form. I would put West Indies as the dark horses of the tournament. And finally, as an Indian, I would want an Indian team in the final four.
As a cricketer, what do you think could be done to improve the condition of cricket in the country?
In some states there already are excellent cricketing facilities. What we need to concentrate on are the remote areas. That’s where the talent lies. We should try to build adequate amount of practice facilities in those areas. BCCI could introduce academies to the smaller parts of the country. A sports school sort of academy with education taken care off. We should bring up kids in a manner that they become natural athletes. We should also promote domestic coaches. We only go for foreign coaches. That should change and it would improve the state of cricket tremendously.
Any message for the young budding cricketers?
I would sayhard work is always the key. Give your 100% to your passion. You should dream. Those who dream can also make those dreams come true. Playing for the country should be your dream. And most importantly, don’t worry about the result. If your basics are good, everything will follow automatically.