July 29, 2021
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'My Time Will Come'

Unfazed by the highs and lows in his career, the gritty Punjab player is determined to claim his place in the Indian team.

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'My Time Will Come'

Undeterred by the ups and downs in his career -- rising to mini stardom following the U-15 World Cup win and subsequently vanishing into oblivion and being left out of the World Cup squad -- Reetinder Singh Sodhi is determined to break back into the Indian cricket team.

And helping him in his resurrection is legendary basketball player Michael Jordan.

"I am reading an autobiography of Jordan. He explains in the book how to remove the fear of failure from the mind," Sodhi said in an interview. "That is very important and that's what I am trying to do these days."

But it is not that Sodhi cannot counter the negative feelings for he has nerves of steel. He is prepared to start afresh and emulate his friends and U-19 mates - Yuvraj Singh and Mohammad Kaif.

"I am a little disappointed at not making it to the World Cup squad but I am confident that I will come back into the team," said Sodhi with a steely calmness.

Sodhi was vice-captain of the Indian team that won the U-19 World Cup in Sri Lanka in 1999. And playing alongside Sodhi then were - Yuvraj and Kaif - who later went on to author one of India's finest one-day wins against England at Lord's last year.

While Yuvraj and Kaif have carved a niche for themselves in world cricket, it is an irony of fate that Sodhi is trying to piece together his shattered dreams.

"My cricketing career is back to square one. But I will not give up," Sodhi said.

One is led into believing his words as the man from Patiala is not the one to give up easily and a series of events in recent months has helped him remain positive and motivated.

Vikram Rathour is playing for Himchal Pradesh this season, and in the absence of Dinesh Mongia, Sodhi is the captain of Punjab.

"Captaining a first-class team is a big responsibility and that has given me some maturity. It has also kept me occupied and helped forget the disappointments," Sodhi said.

Punjab have done well in Ranji Trophy this season and are top of the Elite Group 'B'.

But Sodhi's more memorable moment came a few days ago when he led North Zone to victory in the Deodhar Trophy.

"I scored 58, picked up a wicket and a catch in the last match against South Zone which decided the winner," said a beaming Sodhi.

The tour of South Africa in 2001, where he played in the tri-nation one-day series, was the last major tournament for Sodhi although he played in a one-dayer against the West Indies at Jodhpur in the recent home series.

But being left out of the team has only strengthened his resolve. "I am a firm believer in God. I just want to keep concentrating on my work and put in more effort. I am confident things will happen on their own," he said with optimism.


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