"Rahul Sir is the best coach I have ever come across" says Kerala's Sijomon Joseph
Sijomon Joseph is a 20 year old who plays for Kerala in the domestic cricket. He has also given numerous appearances for the Indian U-19 team. Furthermore, he bagged 19 wickets in just 4 first class matches at an exceptional economy of 2.36.
In an exclusive interview with Sportskeeda, Sijomon talks about his cricketing experience with Kerala and U-19 Indian team.
You bagged a five-wicket haul in your second match of first class career. What was the feeling when you achieved this accomplishment?
Sijomon: First of all, I would like to thank God. It was truly an ecstatic moment. I never thought that I could bring about such an impact in my second match itself. I'm seeing it only as God's grace and blessing for which I'm really grateful.
What has been your experience with the Indian U-19 team along with players like Prithvi Shaw and Shubman Gill?
Sijomon: It was really pleasant. I have already been with them in the NCA U-16 camp which was around two years back. They are really hardworking players with really good attitude. I'm glad that I'm getting to play with them.
How has the presence of Rahul Dravid created a healthy environment in the U-19 Team?
Sijomon: Rahul Sir is the best coach I have ever come across because he guides us really well on how to handle pressure. For a player, managing pressure is really important and he helps us a lot to cope with it. I consider myself really fortunate that I'm getting this wonderful opportunity to play under the guidance of such a great legend.
You have bagged 19 wickets in just 4 first class matches at an exceptional economy of 2.36. Whom do you want to credit for this stupendous performance?
Sijomon: All credit for my achievements goes to God. I don't think it is my talent or ability which has brought me here. I am all because of God. So all my gratitude is to him. Along with that, I acknowledge my family, relatives, coaches, team members and all those friends for all their whole hearted support and encouragement.
How would you like to describe your debut in your first Youth test against England?
Sijomon: It was one of my dreams to play for U-19 Indian Team. It actually became reality at a point in time where I thought it would never happen. Playing for the Indian team was indeed a huge pressure. But, as I've already said, Rahul sir helped me a lot to overcome it. Finally, with God's grace, I was able to do my dream debut. My all round performance was a huge turning point in my cricket career itself. The media was a huge source of support and gave me a boost to do even better. Those were the best days of my life.
What inspired you to choose cricket as your career? Who has been the person who has always supported you during your ups and downs?
Sijomon: Playing cricket sends me to a different world. It's like the epitome of satisfaction and happiness which I gain from cricket. I was introduced to this field by my brothers. It was with them that I first used to play cricket. They gifted me my first cricket kit and sent me to the coaching camp. From that moment, till now, my brothers have been a great support and inspiration for me. Then it's my coach, Jeen sir. He's the one who made me a left arm spinner from a fast bowler. That was a brilliant decision by him. Then in all my failures and lowest points of my life, all throughout my struggling period, my mother gave me all strength with her prayers and presence. My father died when I was young. It was with a lot of sweat and struggle that mother brought up me and my brothers. So my main motive is to make her happy. Above all, my greatest inspiration is my belief that God is always with me.
Fabid Farooq has been your best friend in the Kerala team. How has his presence helped you in getting accustomed to the atmosphere of Kerala team?
Sijomon: Fabid is a great team man both on and off the field. He's someone whom I felt is of the same wavelength as me. Salman Nizar is also just like that. We have been together since our childhood days and have maintained our bond throughout. We are the youngest players of the team. Basil Thampi has been of immense help. He helped in mingling with seniors and bridging a company with them. He treats me like his brother.
There are various budding cricketing who wish to play Ranji and move on to represent the Indian team. What piece of advice would you like to give to these budding cricketers?
Sijomon: My advice to the youngsters to is set their own goals and then plan well on how to achieve them. Then work on your goals step by step by both hard-work and smartness. Smart thinking is an important key to success. And finally, pray hard to God to fulfill your dreams. Believe strongly in God then he will grant you what you have asked for.