'One of my legs has been affected by polio since birth. But my passion for cricket never made me realise I am disabled.'
Dinesh Sain has worn the India blue on a cricket field and even led the national team for the physically challenged but the vagaries of life have now made him desperate for a peon's job at the National Anti Doping Agency (NADA).
Inflicted with polio since birth, Sain played nine games for India's physically challenged team between 2015 and 2019, also captaining the side during this time. At 35, he is currently looking for a steady income to support his family -- wife and a one-year-old toddler.
"I am 35 and currently in first year of my graduation. After 12th standard, I only played cricket, represented India but I have no money now. There is one vacancy for a peon's post in NADA," Sain said from his Sonepat home.
Dinesh's elder brothers have looked after him and his family till now but he he says that time is running out and that is why he is desperate to get the NADA job.
"The age limit for normal people in this job (peon) is 25 and for the PH category (Physically handicapped), it is 35 years. So, this is my last chance to get a government job," Dinesh, who had earlier appeared for peon's interview at District court, said.
His only regret these days is the fact that despite playing for the country, fame and money eluded him.
"One of my legs has been affected by polio since birth. But my passion for cricket never made me realise I am disabled. In the 2015 edition of a five-nation tournament in Bangladesh (India won the 2019 edition in England), I was highest wicket taker with eight wickets from four games. I got two against Pakistan," he recollected.
In fact, Dinesh travelled to England in 2019 with the team that emerged champion but as an official.
They didn't include me in the squad but asked me to join so that I could guide the new boys. There is so much of talent where physical disadvantage is not an impediment. But then who will look after us?" was his angst filled question.
Dinesh said that if he gets the job at NADA, it will help him remain attached to the game, mentoring young players.
"I will not play cricket anymore but I need to feed my family and I want to remain attached to the game," he said.