'When I got my India (Under-19) jersey tears had rolled down my eyes as my father was not there to experience this moment. I dedicate the Asia Cup trophy and my fifer in the final to my late father.'
Upcoming spinner Atharva Ankolekar on Sunday dedicated his match-winning five-wicket haul in the Asia Cup Under-19 final to his late father, a former employee of Mumbai's public transport service who did night shifts for eight long years to help his son realise his dream.
Ankolekar spun the web around of Bangladesh Under-19 team in Colombo on Saturday en route to a five-wicket to help India emerge winners in a low-scoring thriller.
"When I got my India (Under-19) jersey tears had rolled down my eyes as my father was not there to experience this moment. I dedicate the Asia Cup trophy and my fifer in the final to my late father," Athrva said in Mumbai, upon his arrival where he was received by his friends and family.
India were bundled out for a low score but Atharva believes that the coaches, especially the newly-appointed head coach Paras Mhambrey motivated the team members to fight till the end.
"All were silent (at the halfway stage) in the dressing room, but we were pumped by all our coaches -- Paras Mhambrey, Hrishikesh Kanitkar and Anand Date, saying another half of the game was left and that the opposition could be bowled out. Paras Sir said forget what had happened and asked us to think ahead," he said.
Atharva bowled the last over and grabbed two wickets but he said he didn't take any pressure.
"I didn't take any pressure in the final as I was selected as a frontline bowler and my job was to pick up wickets. When the captain gave me the final over, I thought there was no point in saving runs and had to go for wickets," the spinner, who stays in suburban Andheri and practises at the MIG Cricket Club in Bandra, said.
His mom is a conductor with Mumbai's public transport service BEST and Atharva acknowledged her role in shaping up his career.
His mother took up the job after his father's demise.
"My mother's contribution was huge (in shaping up my career). If I settle well, I don't want to give more trouble to her," he said, while also acknowledging the role played by his coach Prashant Shetty.
Atharva is looking forward to have a new bike, but the left-arm spinner is also keen to put up more such performances and is not content with the Asia Cup show.