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Father and brother died within six months! Here’s how India’s new debutant Akash Deep turned his setbacks into comeback

Ahead of the toss, head coach Rahul Dravid handed Akash Deep his maiden Test cap, becoming the 313th player to represent the nation in whites.

Akash Deep

India are up against England in the crucial fourth Test in Ranchi. Rohit Sharma made just one change to their previous line-up, opening the door for Bengal pacer Akash Deep to make his much-awaited debut. Ahead of the toss, head coach Rahul Dravid handed Deep his maiden Test cap, becoming the 313th player to represent the nation in whites.

The 27-year-old was the only new face in the Indian squad from the first two Tests as he replaced Avesh Khan for the remainder of the series. He didn’t get a chance in the third Test, but resting Jasprit Bumrah in the fourth match in Ranchi paved the way for Deep to fulfill his long-cherished ambition. Many may have raised their eyebrows when the Indian Cricket Board named him to fill the big shoes against a quality side, but his stats in the domestic circuit will shut them all up.

In his 30 first-class matches for Bengal, Deep has picked up over 100 wickets at an average of 23.58. He was very impressive in the unofficial Test series between India A and England Lions, claiming 12 wickets in the three matches. The right-arm pacer has also represented the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in IPL.

Let’s dive into the inspiring story of Akash Deep

Hailing from Sarasam in Bihar, Akash Deep’s journey to Team India was never easy. Bihar is a state without a rich history of cricket and Deep recently said that playing cricket in his place was considered a ‘crime’.

“In Bihar [suspended by the Indian Cricket Board at the time], there was no platform and especially from the place where I came from, Sasaram, playing cricket was a crime. Lots of parents would ask their children not to mingle with Akash as he only plays cricket and your studies would go for a toss. But I don’t blame them. What would you have achieved playing cricket in a place like that?,” Deep recalled after getting maiden India call-up.

His father, Ramji Singh, a government school teacher, did not want his son to become a cricketer, forcing him to focus on his studies. Ramji wanted to make Deep a government employee. He was also advised to attend Bihar police constable’s exams or at least try for the state government’s Class IV staff peon job. His only support from his family was his uncle who lives in Durgapur.

Things took a turn for the worse when Deep lost his father and brother in just six months. This twin tragedy made him the breadwinner of the family and forced him to stay away from cricket for three years. Later he moved to Kolkata to pursue his cricket dream and supported his family by playing tennis ball cricket.

He made his Ranji Trophy debut for Bengal in 2019 and was signed by RCB for a base price of Rs 20 lakh to play in the 2022 Indian Premier League (IPL). He had to go through many struggles but held his family in both hands and carried the dream of playing for India in his heart. On Friday, February 23, Deep made his international debut with his mother and other family members witnessing the proud moment at the JSCA International Stadium Complex.

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