Ravi Kumar’s emergence as the new U-19 World Cup hero is not only the result of his own hard work, but also the sacrifices of his father CRPF, who spent most of his life serving the country. On Saturday, the 18-year-old from Aligarh scalped four wickets to play a pivotal role as India beat England by four wickets to lift the coveted U19 World Cup trophy for a record fifth time. “Hum goli chalake desh seva karte hai, aur beta ball daal ke” (We shoot bullets to protect our country, and my son serves the country with his bowling),” said Ravi’s father’s assistant deputy inspector, Rajinder Singh, who is now is stationed at a CRPF camp in the Maoist-leaning Rayagada district of Odisha.
Ravi was just a little boy when Singh was seriously injured in the 2006 Srinagar grenade attack that killed one soldier and wounded 11, but he never shared his trials and tribulations with his family.
Singh spent “nearly his entire life” stationed in the militant-hit regions of Srinagar, but he always made sure his wife and three children lived and slept in peace.
“I always made sure my family stayed happy, not knowing the pain I endured. Even when I had a splinter injury to my legs and arms, I didn’t tell them. They only found out on TV,” he recalled of the grenade attack.
His son’s fame at the U-19 World Cup has now made Singh a sought-after person in the CRPF camp.
It all started with Ravi Kumar’s man-of-the-match spectacle against his last edition’s final nemesis, Bangladesh.
Ravi took 3/14 in a sensational opening spell of 5-1-5-3 to spearhead India’s five-wicket win and set up a semi-final clash against Australia.
He continued his momentum to come back at 2/37 against Australia and in the final, along with Raj Bawa, shared nine wickets between them to set up their four-wicket win over England.
“Normally parents worry about their children’s studies and future career, but here is my son who stood up for himself and now makes the country proud,” smiled Singh.
Away from his family most of the time to serve the country, Singh barely knew about his son’s growth as a cricketer.
“He was stationed at J and K and always on the go. He didn’t know much about how he got into cricket. Like everyone else in his age group, he was always busy playing cricket for fun.
“I later found out that Arvind Bharadwaj ji had got him serious about cricket and that’s how it all started for him 13 or 14 years ago,” Singh recalled.
“At first I was also worried because I didn’t have the money to support him in cricket career, but he held his own. It shows the drive and commitment in him. I hope he achieves the grade (to the top level).”
It was not easy for Ravi Kumar as he had no chances in UP and had to take the Bengal tour with the help of his Kolkata neighbor.
Without a second thought, Ravi moved to Kolkata and played second division cricket before joining Howrah Union and then Ballygunge United, from where he was selected for the Bengal U-19 team last year.
Incidentally, he was not part of the India Foals team for a Tri-series, with India U-19 A, India U-19 B and Bangladesh U-19, in the build-up for the U-19 World Cup here. the last December.
Over the past year, Ravi has worked hard on his fitness and gained muscle mass to be drafted into the team after another player was cut due to injury.
“He has always been dedicated and committed. Even though the two of us are miles apart most of the time, we video chat every day. He calls me over dinner,” Singh said.
“I always tell him that no one is above the country, we must give everything for ‘Bharat Mata’. As I serve the country in war, your duty is to win matches for India with your bowling.”