In team sports, players are often given nicknames by their teammates. In the Bengal state cricket team, there is one called ‘Ghara’ these days. His name is Sudip Kumar Gharami. He is a batter in the No. 3 position. And he has done rather well this season, having made 394 runs in four Ranji Trophy matches so far, with two centuries, as well as knocks of 90 and 72.
But that is not the story — Gharami’s rise from a very ordinary background is. Son of a mason from Naihati, he did not even live in a pucca house until about a couple of years ago. Following a tiff with local officials, he was denied the opportunity to practice at a club in Naihati. His coach used to take him to various other places so that he could train. It was tough for his father to ensure that his son got what a budding cricketer needed.
Talent alone was not enough
From there, to make it to the Bengal junior squads and then becoming a successful batter for the senior side has taken some doing. Talent alone was not enough. It required perseverance and determination to overcome the odds. Yes, the system helped — the clubs he played for in the Kolkata league backed him. But a lot of willpower was also in play there.
“Coming from a family that is not well to do has a few drawbacks. My father did not have a regular job and could not afford the equipment I needed. There were things that I required and we could not have them. But my coach Debesh Chakraborty helped on a number of occasions. He saw talent in me and used to take me to different clubs for playing and training opportunities. It was tough. When I started playing club cricket in Kolkata, I had to take a train at 5.30am in the winters and was not home until 8pm. But it has paid off,” Gharami told My Kolkata.
Making small moves
Thanks to the 23-year-old’s success in the field, today the family has a proper house in Naihati and Gharami is also looking for a flat in Kolkata. He could not continue studies after Class XII, but is quite eloquent and speaks well. He is also very focussed on his game and with the help of senior team members and coaches, has found out what he has to do.
“I had heard of this boy when I was the coach of the Bengal Under-23 team. I was doing well in the Under-19 circuit. When he came into the Under-23 side, I saw that he lacked a bit of clarity. I mean he did not understand how good he was. We worked on it and Ghara has shown an enormous amount of determination to establish himself in the senior side. There was a season when he failed in the first three games. We persisted with him and he made 180 in the Ranji Trophy quarterfinal. There is a lot of hunger in him,” said Saurasish Lahiri, the assistant coach of the senior Bengal team.
Gharami, too, says that he has better clarity about his game these days. “I know what my role is and prepare accordingly. I know that if I have to be a top-order batter, I can’t throw away starts. I cannot get out for 30s and 40s. If I get in, I have to go big. In the initial phase of the innings, I have to respect the bowlers and assess the conditions. Then on, it is up to me convert the start into a big innings.”
And he has done that. After beginning the Ranji season with a duck, he has come back strong. ‘Ghara’ says his aim is to play for India in the next two years. Most players in the first-class circuit aspire to do that. Only a few eventually make it. If determination and willingness to put in the hard yards is a factor, this boy has shown these traits. After that, who knows!