Surprisingly Life Has Never Been Easy For Monank Patel

Life has never been easy for Monank Patel. The 31-year-old Indian-born captain of the US cricket team for the forthcoming World T20 Cup has been a fighter. He will depend on these traits in his new role as captain of the US team in the T20 World Cup, which started off in the US on June 2.

For Monank, who represented his state, Gujarat, as an under-19 cricketer and is now donning and captaining the US team, life has come full circle. Ever since he was a youngster, he had dreamt of being the captain of a team. 

I have always dreamed of leading a team. I am someone who takes responsibility and wants to take onus for everything. Even during my younger days, when I used to skip school, I relished the idea of being the captain.

When asked how it felt to captain a greenhorn like the US in a star-studded field that includes defending champions England, Australia, and India, Monank said that soaking up pressure was something that he always relished. “For me, the bigger the stage, the bigger the challenge. I must admit, we are up against the best teams in the world. However, as hosts, we can’t afford to disappoint our fans. We will give our best,” he promises.

Monank also said that while growing up, he admired tough sportspeople—especially the likes of former Australian captain and all-rounder Steve Waugh. No doubt he was a good batsman, but what appealed to me about him was his fighting qualities,“ he said.

After all, Monank had to fight his way to become a cricket player. Monank excelled in his studies, and his parents strongly supported his aspiration to become a doctor. However, the allure of cricket captivated Monank, and he relentlessly fought to convince his parents to allow him to pursue cricket. “That was the first major battle that I won, which made me confident about my fighting abilities,” he said.

He started representing Gujarat in the under-16 and under-19 national teams, and his major goal was to don the Team India colours. At this stage, life presented Monank with an entirely new challenge, as his father decided to emigrate to the US with his family in 2016.

“The decision to migrate permanently to the US proved to be a big stumbling block to my cricketing career. I was all set to shift to Mumbai and train under Pravin Amre when my father made this surprising decision to shift to the US. We had discussed it in our household before, but its suddenness caught me off guard, he added.

Despite shifting to a new country where cricket was little known and followed, Monank’s grit and determination ensured that he would have to bend backwards in order to pursue his cricket career. He would end up criss-crossing the US in order to become a professional cricketer. “There were times when I would drive down more than 400 km to get a couple of matches under my belt,” Monank said.

Hard work always pays off. Soon, Monank established his credentials in US cricket by becoming one of the most consistent scorers. He was the leading scorer for the US in the 2018–2019 World T20 Americas qualifiers.

He made history in October 2018, becoming the first ever American player to score an international century. Thereafter, he went from strength to strength, scoring heavily in all his matches before earning the right to captain the US in the T20 World Cup.

Chacko Saji

With nearly two decades of experience in sports journalism, Saji Chacko is one of the few English media journalists who has had a chequered career across the three main media platforms i.e. print, television and digital. He has done a lot of human interest sports stories and is currently working on the biography of a famous sportsperson.

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