Free Press Journal

IPL 2017: This Mumbai Indians player once worked as a waiter


In 2016, Kulwant Khejroliya was busy serving prawn, fish and chicken grubs to people at a restaurant in Goa. And exactly a year later, he found himself wearing the Mumbai Indians’ jersey and rubbing shoulders with the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Harbhajan Singh and Rohit Sharma. This is nothing but a quirk of fate mixed with hard work.

Mumbai Indians squad comprises some of the biggest names from the cricketing world. Rohit Sharma-led MI side has won the Indian Premier League on two occasions and is one of the most successful franchises in the IPL. MI have all covered when it comes to cricket world’s A-listers. When such big names thrown into the mix, often the focus shifts away from the lesser-known players. Kulwant Khejroliya is one such example.

The 25-year-old, hails from Jhunjhunu in Rajasthan, initially went to look for a living in Goa but he somewhere aspired to be a cricketer. Before taking to cricket, he was working as a restaurant waiter in Goa. He moved to Delhi to take up the sport professionally after a friend spotted the spark in him. Kulwant Khejroliya didn’t inform his parents, who thought he had moved to Ahmedabad to join friends transport business.

In Delhi, he joined the LB Shastri club, which has produced cricketers like Gautam Gambhir, Nitish Rana and Unmukt Chand. Here, Khejroliya found a mentor in coach Sanjay Bharadwaj who not just helped to move into a hostel with the other cricketers but also molded him into a left-arm pacer. Later on, he was picked up for Rs 10 lakhs at the IPL auctions by Mumbai Indians. However, Khejroliya is yet to play an IPL match this season. But, his success story becomes quite an inspiration for many youngsters around the world.

Khejroliya’s journey proves this IPL is also a treasure box of fairytales. Nathu Singh, the son of a labourer from Rajasthan made it to the Gujarat Lions team with a 3.2 crore contract. Then T Natarajan, son of a porter from Hyderabad, was picked up by Kings XI Punjab for three crores in a bidding war.