Another Keralite who defied the football craze and became a cricketer - the story of Sachin Baby
May 1, 2016.
RCB Vs SRH
“Me – Wow! Look at that 80m six from Sachin Baby! That too off Mustafizur’s ball.
Mom– Sachin Baby?! When did Arjun Tendulkar start playing the IPL?
Dad – Baby?! Is RCB playing a batsman younger than Sarfaraz Khan too?”
When Sportskeeda narrated this brief blather between a cricket-loving family to Sachin Baby, the ever-smiling batsman reacted, “such funny confusions regarding my name are common and this is not the first time I am hearing something like this.”
Sachin Baby’s name invokes much interest among IPL lovers. In an exclusive interview to Sportskeeda, the Kerala skipper cleared the air regarding the curious case of his name.
“My mother is a huge cricket fan. She always followed the sport keenly and given her cricket craze, she naturally wanted me to become a cricketer. For her, there was no better way to welcome me into the world than name me after the God of Cricket. As far as my surname is concerned, my dad is popularly called PC Baby in our society back home. Hence, the name”
A cricketer from a football-dominated state
Sachin Baby was born in the Thodupuzha town of Kerala, a state where cricket does not enjoy mass popularity. In a territory where the ISL and FIFA world cup are celebrated as festivals, Baby was determined to materialize his mother’s dreams and also, his name!
“As a child, I used to play football. Even during my school days, I didn’t play cricket. I had also attended a few football trials. But my love for my mother and my mother’s love for cricket is how I made the 22 yards my ultimate goal”
He further went on to narrate his days of struggle, which is an inspiration for every budding cricketer.
“I hail from a place where there is no cricket ground, no coaching centers, no facilities. It was in the newspapers where I discovered about the upcoming selection trials. I was accompanied to the venue by my mother and was lucky enough to be selected. As far as I remember, we had to travel a distance of about 60kms to arrive at the venue for the trials.”
Unlike most established cricketers, Sachin Baby did not undergo any formal coaching. He watched cricket matches on the television with hawk-eyed scrutiny and self-trained himself. “I have never received any formal training in cricket. I had nobody to coach me. May sound surprising but I learnt the game solely by watching it. I used to play the U-13 and U-19 games for two months in a year, while the rest of the 10 months I got no opportunity to play competitive cricket. I just watched it on the television and absorbed as much as I could”, recollected Sachin.
From Kerala to Bangalore via Rajasthan
Baby made his IPL debut with the Rajasthan Royals in 2013. However, he got a chance to bat in only one of the four matches that he played where scored only 3. The following seasons resulted in disappointments for the southpaw as he remained unsold in the auction.
This year, however, he rose to prominence with RCB. The left-hander is being played in the team in place of an in-form Sarfaraz Khan and that itself explains his distinction. When asked how challenging it was for him to fight for a place in the team in place of Sarfaraz, he composedly responded,
“I do not fight for a place with anybody else. I fight with my own self. I work hard to hone my batting skills. I don’t want to race against anyone else but with my own self. RCB gave me an opportunity and I knew I had to make the most of it.”
Baby further revealed his secret behind a decent IPL resume this year, unlike that of 2013. And much to our elation, he now shares the dressing room with his much-kept secret.
“I have been watching AB de Villiers’ Cricket Yard since September 2015. I intently observe his batting style. I have learned and benefitted much from the videos he shares. I told this to ABD too!” smiled Sachin. And before he could forget to thank his parents, especially his mother, he quickly added “It is because of their faith and confidence in me that I could resurrect myself in the past 3 years.”
IPL has been a welcoming platform for youngsters to not only showcase their skills but also learn from the senior players. Baby has played under the captaincy of Rahul Dravid in 2013 and this year, under Virat Kohli. When asked which of the two skippers’ captaincy he liked better, he meticulously responded,
“Dravid is very calm and composed. Virat Bhai is aggressive. I am as aggressive as Virat bhai when I captain my team back home. So I can relate to Virat bhai’s captaincy better.” When asked if aggression really helps one on-field, he said, “Aggressions keep you alive on the field till the last ball. It makes sure you give your cent percent.”