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Tilak Varma.

Khel Today Bureau 

New Delhi: In the heartwarming journey of young cricketer Tilak Varma, the echoes of his childhood dreams resonate with dedication and unwavering support. From the earliest days, Tilak’s passion for cricket was unmistakable, a constant companion as he wielded a plastic bat and ball even during his slumber. Despite facing financial hurdles, his family’s unyielding backing, especially from his hardworking electrician father, propelled him toward the cricketing arena. With the guidance of his mentor and godfather, Coach Salam Bayash, Tilak’s trajectory soared higher, with notable milestones like his U-19 World Cup appearance and a spot in the prestigious Mumbai Indians team. Now, at the threshold of his cricketing prowess, Tilak Varma exudes confidence and determination to shape matches in any situation, a young talent primed to leave an indelible mark on the cricketing landscape. In a candid conversation exclusively with Star Sports’ Follow the Blues, the touching journey of Tilak Varma comes to light, tracing back to his formative years suffused with an unbridled passion for cricket.

From his earliest days, Tilak’s unwavering love for the sport was evident, a constant companion manifested by his firm grip on a cricket bat – a plastic one, procured from toy stores – which he clung to even in slumber, the ball right by his side. Speaking exclusively to Star Sports on Follow the Blues, Tilak Varma’s father Namboori Nagaraju, reminisced Tilak’s childhood days and how his love for cricket was boundless ever since he was a kid, he said “From the time he was a child, he always had a bat in his hand, all the time he used to play with his cricket bat. We bought him that plastic bat which you get from toy stores, and even when he slept, he used to keep the bat and ball by his side.” 

As Tilak’s ardor for the game flourished, financial constraints posed a potential impediment to his dreams. Recounting his family’s unwavering backing, Tilak reflects on the sacrifices his father, an electrician by profession, made, toiling tirelessly from dawn till dusk to facilitate his cricketing aspirations. There were moments when a bat was beyond reach, but Tilak recalls his father’s steadfast promise to provide what was needed, embodying an unyielding spirit of support. Recounting those experiences, Tilak said, “My family support was very good. My father was an electrician so he used to work a lot. He used to work from the morning to the evening just to send me to the cricket academy. He worked a lot for me. Sometimes, I didn’t have a bat so I used to ask my father and he always said he will provide it for me.”

Guiding Tilak’s path was the influential figure of Coach Salam Bayash, a mentor who not only nurtured his cricketing skills but also acted as a guardian and encourager. Echoing his father’s sentiment, Tilak credits Coach Salam for playing the role of a benevolent godfather, offering unwavering encouragement and even assistance with essentials like lunch and cricketing equipment. Coach Salam’s commitment extended beyond the field, reassuring Tilak’s family that education and finances would not hinder his progress. Tilak’s father, Namboori Nagaraju accredited Tilak success to his coach Salam Bayash, saying  “Salam sir used to encourage him a lot, whether it was his lunch or his cricket equipment, he said that he would give it to him. He used to tell me that if there was any issue, he is always there, we have to get him (Tilak) to the next level. I used to tell Salam Sir that he should not fall short in studies, he used to assure us that everything would be fine and money would not be an issue. He used to encourage him a lot, he was like a godfather to him.”

Tilak’s rise to stardom was imminent, marked by his debut for Hyderabad against Andhra Pradesh in 2018, followed by a list-A debut in 2019. His prowess didn’t stop at the domestic stage, as he earned a spot in the Indian squad for the U-19 World Cup. Reflecting on this monumental achievement, Tilak’s father, Namboori Nagaraju, expressed his pride, highlighting the transformative impact of representing his country on the global stage. He said “The U-19 world cup was a big turning point. He was so happy when he got selected in the team for the tournament. He immediately informed Salam Sir, and he was also very happy for him. Whatever happens, Tilak played for the U-19 world cup and that was a big achievement for him. He played very well.”

The pinnacle of Tilak’s journey materialized when he was selected by the prestigious Mumbai Indians in 2022, a testament to his talent and dedication. With a spirit undaunted by challenges, Tilak Verma envisions his role on the cricketing stage as a match-winner in any circumstance. His words encapsulate the essence of a young talent ready to script his own narrative of success, fueled by unwavering support, unrelenting passion, and an unwavering commitment to excel. He said “I am confident that I can win matches in any situation, in any order. That’s the main role for me.”

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