Indian cricketer Deepak Shetty is currently playing for the Mumbai team in the Ranji trophy. He made his first class debut on 25th December 2019 and is currently 31 years old. The right handed batsman is also a right arm medium fast bowler and is aiming to represent India internationally one day.
In this exclusive interview, Deepak Shetty speaks about his journey, cricketing idols, biggest achievements, importance of mental strength, overcoming challenges and his future goals in the sport.
Q 1) How did your cricketing journey begin and what motivated you to pursue it professionally?
My dad loves cricket and we used to watch a lot of cricket games growing up which was very exciting and a lot of fun. I began pursuing cricket professionally thanks to Ajay Naik sir and my grandparents who have supported me. I’m guided by my mentors Anant sir, Firoz sir and Suresh Shetty sir and what I am today is because of them.
Q 2) Who were some of your cricketing idols while growing up and why?
I used to copy Michael Holdings’ action when I started cricket because my coach then used to tell me he (Michael Holding) had the perfect action and a rhythmic runup and it really was. He was the greatest of all all time, a Rolls Royce of cricket. I also loved Rahul Dravid as he was a team player and could operate as an opener, wicket keeper and captain. He inspired me to become a team player as well.
Q 3) What are some of your biggest achievements in your cricketing career?
I was recognised as the Best Development Player in 2019 for the T20 Mumbai Edition 2 tournament which was broadcasted live on Star Sports. My debut game for Mumbai’s senior team for the Ranji trophy under the captaincy of Surya Kumar Yadav and playing alongside Ajinkya Rahane and Shardul Thakur was a great feeling as well.
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Q 4) How important is mental strength to compete at the highest level in cricket? How do you deal with competition in the sport?
Mental health is very important in any sport because you train hard everyday and during the game day, if you’re not mentally present, it can spoil your match. It’s important to be present and not just think about the end result which is not in your hands. Having positive self talk really helps and I have Firoz sir to thank for this as he has been a big boon to my cricketing career, especially with regards to attitude and approach.
Q 5) What are some of the biggest challenges that you have faced in your career?
By the grace of god I have never faced “difficult” challenges in life, I’ve been lucky. I’ve seen people around me go through worse situations and struggle. I come from an educated South Indian family but not from a sports background and it has been difficult for my family to understand the struggle. They wanted me to quit and during those initial days I cried and fought for my dreams. I was rewarded by cricket due to my persistence.
Q 6) What are your short and long term goals for the future? How do you plan to accomplish them?
I want to continue being hungry to achieve more and not be satisfied by the success I’ve had. I want to represent India, despite the fact that I’m over 30 years old now. I believe in myself and the process. Firoz sir has been a turning point in my life when it comes to approaching challenges with a different attitude and I’m very grateful for it.