Anil Kumble spots special talent of Shankar Sajjan during spin hunt
A young player prompted former Indian captain Anil Kumble to make changes to the final 20-man list in Anil Kumble’s spin stars cricket trials list and convert it into a 21-man shortlist. Meet Shankar Sajjan – a 17-year-old legspinner – that caught Jumbo’s, as Kumble is fondly called, eye.
In the hunt for Anil Kumble’s spin stars cricket trials across 80 towns and cities for the past two months, Kumble came across an unusual leg-spinner a few days back in Bangalore. After watching more than two thousand spinners across Karnataka, 110 finalists were picked and asked to demonstrate their skills at NRA ground in Bangalore. But one boy, Shankar Sajjan, stood out.
From the 110-man list, 20 were hand-picked to go to the final round, where 3 will be selected who will get Rs. 1 lakh each and be monitored by Kumble’s company, Tenvic.
Shankar isn’t your ordinary spinner, he is physically challenged having deformed hands. However, his spirit and passion for the game helped him overcome those odds and force Kumble to include his name in the list as a special case.
Anil Kumble said, “I was really amazed at his spirit. We didn’t pick him in the final 20 list but we will be having him in our camp as a special case. This reflects true India. Underlying talent in every walk of life. All one needs is an opportunity. I am glad I could provide one.”
Shankar came through many difficulties in life
Shankar was passionate about cricket since he was a little kid, like many others in India. But, his physical deformity made things difficult for him. Three years ago, back in Bijapur, he found it hard to convince the coaches at the Shahu Cricket Club at the Ambedkar Stadium. The coaches made it clear that he had to bowl properly if he wanted to be selected. The determination of the young man became clear when he cleared his selection on merit.
He beat all the challenges that life threw at him. Apart from his deformity, he suffered a major jolt, when his mother died when he was just two years old, leaving him with his sister and brother. However, Shankar couldn’t help himself from travelling to Bangalore when a local newspaper carried the notice about the spin trials.
He said, “My uncle Sharan supported me to come for this camp. I’m big fan of Kumble sir and it’s a dream come true. He told me that he will be sponsoring my training and education needs.”
The youngster is certainly determined and his will to make it big will take him a long way. The fact that a special leg-spinner spotted Shankar amongst all the others must give him encouragement to carry on with his dream. We wish Shankar the very best and hope he achieves all that he dreams to achieve.
Here is a video of Shankar in action: