“In the generation of T-20s or T10s, I want to play test cricket for my nation” – Devansh Poddar

Devansh Poddar is a 19-year-old cricketer who has played U-14 state for Jharkhand. He took 18 wickets in 5 games at an economy of around 4, and then in U14 district trial matches, he took 9 wickets in 3 games. Devansh is currently playing the league matches in Jharkhand where in the last match he scored an incredible 75 off 24 balls for his team.

Devansh Poddar is a 19-year-old cricketer who has played U-14 state for Jharkhand. He took 18 wickets in 5 games at an economy of around 4, and then in U14 district trial matches, he took 9 wickets in 3 games. Devansh is currently playing the league matches in Jharkhand where in the last match he scored an incredible 75 off 24 balls for his team.

In an exclusive interview, Devansh Poddar talks about his cricketing journey and how Mahendra Singh Dhoni inspired him as he hails from Ranchi. He also talks about the challenges he has faced in his career.

1. Who has been your role model who inspired you in childhood? 

 So my role model has always been MS Dhoni, he was one of the reasons why I started loving cricket and of course, we come from the same city so that also has a part in playing Ravindra Jadeja, I look up to him a lot and I do exactly what he does as in a left arm Spinner and a left-handed batsman…the way he fields inspires me a lot because that is one aspect of the game where you can always contribute as a player so yes these two.

2. At what age you start playing cricket?

  I actually started playing cricket when I was 4. I used to play at my terrace where my father used to feed me balls and I used to bat. I also played a lot of gully cricket,  but I started taking professional coaching when I was 8 years old, I joined the Ranchi Sports Academy and I still train there and my coach is Mr Anisur Rahman. Initially, I was more into batting but slowly when my coach saw me bowling he started telling me to focus more on my bowling and he helped me a lot.

3. Tell us about your best innings or best memory you still cherish.

My best memory, I would say, was in 2017. It was just a dream season for me. I literally used to wake up daily and take wickets for fun. It was our U14 Ranchi league, and I took 18 wickets in 5 games at an economy of around 4, then in our U14 district trial matches, I took 9 wickets in 3 games. It was like every second day my photo used to be in the newspaper. I still have those paper cuttings, and every time I see them, it just takes me back to those days.

And if I can say anything about my best innings, it actually came in a practice match last year. I opened the inning and scored some 75 runs in just 24 balls, so that particular knock was very special.

4. Share some insights about the support from your family and friends.

I would just say I am very lucky when it comes to support from my family and friends. They have just supported me throughout, and even now, every day, my father just keeps on telling me to play and work hard. My father, as I told you, used to feed me balls when I was a kid. My brother has always been there for me and has helped and supported me a lot with my game, and I would say my entire family has always had my back when it comes to cricket. And my friends, of course, just keep on motivating me day in and day out.

5. As we are all aware, athletes always go through hard times, so how did you keep up at your lowest times?

See, I think ups and downs are part of every athlete’s life. It’s a constant thing. When it comes to dealing with the low phases, I usually don’t do much. I just try to keep things simple. I just keep telling myself that you know it’s fine; it’s just a bad phase, but it just won’t last for long. I sometimes do watch some of your cricketers’ biographies, which does help, and then, as I told you, my friends and family are just always there whenever something goes downhill. Talking to them just gives me a lot of motivation to come back and work hard.

I still remember that in 2021, just sometime before the league games, I got my left wrist broken, and I was honestly shattered. I just thought my year was gone. But then I tried to be positive, and my family helped me a lot. I missed a few games, but eventually I was able to play three games, and I did pretty well there. So yes, I think it’s more about telling yourself that yes, you can overcome this.

6. For how many hours do you train in a day? 

I actually train for around 4-5 hours a day; many people may think that is just 4 hours, but I actually believe in quality rather than quantity. The time you spend on the ground should be of quality practice, whether it is 3 hours, 4 hours, or 5 hours. You should be able to look into what’s going wrong, how to correct your mistakes, and what value you can gain out of a training session. So yes, it’s usually 4 hours.

7. We have seen many cricketers who believe in superstitions, so is there any superstition you follow before going on the field?

I don’t actually have any such rituals or superstitions. If I could point one, it could be that whenever I enter the ground, I look up to the heavens and pray for things to go well. And other than that, there is no particular superstition. But yes, sometimes if there is a close game or something and my team is batting and scoring runs, then I usually don’t switch my positions depending on where I am sitting in the dugout.

8. Tell us about what made you fascinated with cricket and why you only chose it as your passion.

So actually, there is a story behind this. I was actually on vacation with my family when I was about 4 years old, and we were exploring the streets and the markets there, and that is when I spotted a bat in one of the shops. I already used to watch cricket, although I didn’t understand it much since I was small. But yes, everyone in my family loved cricket, so there was a lot of cricket in our home already.

So when I saw the bat, I just forced my father to buy it, and that is when I played cricket for the first time. I still remember the very first time I played cricket on a beach somewhere while on vacation, and from that day onwards, it has become my first love, and I honestly can’t look beyond it. Cricket, I can say, is the most integral part of my existence.

9. What is your favorite format of cricket? What made you say so?

We grew up playing red-ball cricket in our academies. And I think every cricketer dreams of playing test cricket for the team, which is the traditional form of. So it’s the same for me. I want to play Test cricket for India. These days, you see tens and hundreds of those moments coming up. I think all of those are fine. It’s fine for entertainment purposes.

But the essence of cricket lies in the red ball. Yeah, and I think it’s important to preserve red-ball cricket because that’s how it originated. So it started. It was more like it started with the red ball, and I think it is the best format of cricket even today. I mean, if you watched India’s series against Australia that happened a few years ago in Australia, I mean, that series showed you what test cricket is. Every day, something happened.

Every day, there was something new. India got all out for 36. But then, how do they come back? They had an injured 11, but they still beat Australia in Australia. Yeah. So I think it is something that, you know, even the ICC should take some steps to preserve. They have eventually taken the steps, being that they have brought in the ICC World Test Championship. So I think the traditional form of cricket should not just go away because then the essence of cricket would die. All of those are fine.

Absolutely fine. You know, it always helps young players to come to the national circuit to play for India. So those are also important. But preserving test cricket, I think, should be one of the major goals of the body. 

Do watch it here: https://youtu.be/tYh-5f18QOM


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