Jitesh Sharma started playing cricket for extra marks in school exams. “I never wanted to play cricket. To be honest I am not interested in that game. He used to play cricket with a plastic ball. I started playing to score more marks in school,” Jitesh Sharma told Cricinfo.
“There is a rule in Maharashtra that if you play for the state team during class 10, you can get 4 percent extra marks. I used to play football for my school. But our school’s cricket team is good… My friends told me that if I get selected for the state team, I can get extra marks,” said Jitesh.
On the advice of friends, Jitesh participated in school cricket trials with the intention of getting extra marks. ‘There is no wicket keeper in our school. So I was asked to keep the wicket. I agreed to that. I started keeping wicket from that day. After receiving the ball properly behind the wickets.. I joined the school team. Jitesh said, “I played for the state team when I entered class 10.
The school matches used to be held at the club ground in Amaravati. One of the coaches there, Amar More, advised Jitesh to take cricket seriously. But his dream is to join the National Defense Academy. Jitesh replied to More that he was not interested in cricket. Well, he forced you to try. With this focus on the game, Jitesh was selected for the Vidarbha team in the first year of the Under-16 Trials.
Jitesh thought that he would not be able to play cricket after entering the 9th standard. But since fitness is important to join the National Defense Academy, he continued his association with the game as his father advised him to continue playing cricket to stay fit.
Jitesh used to study Physics, Chemistry and Maths subjects to join NDA. But after being selected for the under-19 team in the secondary and performing well, Jitesh realized that there is also a chance of becoming the captain of Vidarbha.
Later, Jitesh, who was in the Mumbai Indians team for two years in the IPL, learned a lot there. Playing for Punjab Kings last year turned Jitesh’s career around. With Rishabh Pant injured, Jitesh was selected for the T20 series against Sri Lanka.
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