Abhishek Mankotia is living his cricket dreams as a coach
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Abhishek Mankotia is living his cricket dreams as a coach

It’s very hard to live with an incomplete dream, I know it because I’m living with one

Abhishek Mankotia is living his cricket dreams as a coach

For the cricket fans, the stadium is a spiritual destination and the sport is their religion. The love for cricket is unmatched in the country. Every hot afternoon or sunset, young boys playing gully cricket is an ordinary sight on our streets. Yet, despite the talent, few make it to the Indian national cricket team.

"It’s very hard to live with an incomplete dream, I know it because I’m living with one and don’t want any child to face the same. Now, I want my students to achieve what I could not," says Abhishek Mankotia, whose only dream was to play cricket for India. He could not be a national cricketer but is living his dream by fulfilling the cricket dreams of many young aspirants in the city.

Abhishek Mankotia (40), a native of Himachal Pradesh and currently residing in Raj Nagar Part- 2, near Dwarka, Delhi, is working as a cricket coach in St. Mary School. Abhishek loves cricket and wanted to play for India but unfortunately, it did not happen for him.

Abhishek's efforts have ensured bright futures for many of his students. His student Preksha Tiwari played the Ranji trophy for Himachal Pradesh. "I want these girls to be a part of the Indian women's cricket team and I’m preparing them so, they can keep following their dream. Money matters but it is more important to have a dream and I can see the dream of becoming a cricketer in eyes of these girls.”

In 2001, Abhishek took admission in B. Com at PG D.A.V College only because he wanted to play cricket and join the college cricket team. He was not at all interested in anything else his only dream was to play for India.

“I asked my parents to send me to the college not because I want to study but to join the college cricket team. When my final exam for the first semester are about to start, someone informed me about the Himachal district level, Under 19 trials. Therefore, I left the exams and went to Himachal for trials. After that, my parents became very angry and did not allow me to give the state-level trails so, I came back. I was very passionate about cricket but because I came from a middle-class background, the opportunities were very less for me. My parents started forcing me to do a job and settle down. My father asked me to join his friend's MNC, but I refused", says Abhishek.

Abhishek got selected to Himachal Pradesh's state team which he thought would be the turning point in his life. But things never went according to his plan.

Taking about that phase of his life Abhishek says, “When I finished college in 2004, I fell very ill and almost could not play for almost a year. My parents asked me to appear in competitions so that I can get a decent job. Later I was giving exams and playing cricket side by side and I got the news that I was selected for Himachal’s team and that match was scheduled one week later. However, on the same day, one competitive exam was also scheduled and my mama ji found out about it. One night before the match, he scolded me and did not allow me to play that match, and forcefully sent me to give the exam. After that, my state never allowed me to play for them because I broke their trust one day before the match."

There is one saying ‘Heart wants, what it wants'. The same applies to Abhishek.

"After this incident, my dream to become a cricketer was shattered. I came back to Delhi and one of my friends offered me the job of a cricket coach in his academy, Sai Academy which is based inside Bal Bharti Public School. I was depressed and he suggested that I would feel good if I start teaching kids what I love. In 2011, I came to know about the BCCI coach course and I went to Himachal in Dharmshala Stadium to pursue that 21 days course. Thus, I became a BCCI-qualified coach."

In 2012, Abhishek joined St Mary School in Dwarka sector 19, as a cricket coach. Looking at his talent, the school allowed Abhishek to run his own centre which later became an academy named Arihant Cricket Academy. Here, not just students from the school but students from other schools come to learn cricket.

A few years after training, Abhishek noticed that many girls are interested in cricket, and then he decided to teach them cricket. Having to give up on his dream, Abhishek decided to give free training to girls. Not only this, Abhishek tries to convince their parents to let them play.

All pictures credit: CitySpidey

“Girls are interested in cricket too but our society doesn’t allow them to move forward much in the field of sports as compared to boys. Many girls came to me and asked me to talk to their parents so they can start learning cricket. As compared to men's cricket, women's cricket is still less famed so, parents, coaches, schools, colleges, and academies must support girls just as they support boys. Now, they are doing very well and other girls are also coming forward to join the team”, says Abhishek.