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Question – You had been the ‘Man of the Series’ in Nairobi.
Answer – Ya, sadly (laughs).
That’s how this dialog started, which moved like a drive chopping by means of the roads within the hills — touching the peaks when ‘success’ was the topic and hitting the depths of a valley on the point out of ‘disappointment’. But by no means did Vijay Bharadwaj, who proudly calls himself a “failed cricketer”, let it have an effect on the spirit in his voice.
The abstract of Vijay’s recollection of his worldwide profession, lasting simply three Tests and 10 ODIs, can simply be present in Oscar Wilde’s well-known phrases: “Success is a science; if you have the conditions, you get the result.”
Vijay’s profession is a reflection of that, however solely within the context of his restricted days in worldwide cricket, when ‘circumstances’ failed to help his endeavour. The Karnataka cricketer, coach and commentator would cease anybody making an attempt to paint his cricket life primarily based solely on these 13 video games in India colors.
“I was not new to the scene,” Bharadwaj started by introducing himself, particularly to any 21st-century cricket fan who seemed again at him and what he achieved like a flash within the pan.
“I came into the Ranji Trophy team in 1993-94. That’s when we had the best of the teams in the country, with legends like Anil Kumble and Rahul Dravid, Javagal Srinath, Venkatesh Prasad, Sunil Joshi — six or seven legendary cricketers.”
The sweat Vijay broke within the 1990s to get into the Indian crew may very well be felt in his voice and additionally within the credentials he put collectively in bullet factors.
“From ’93 to ’99, ít was the best period for our state, and I was one of the highest run-getters for Karnataka, almost all the time when we won the Ranji Trophy. We won three Ranji Trophy titles in the period. To play one final is in itself a big thing, but to play three Ranji Trophy finals and to get three hundreds in Ranji Trophy finals is nothing short of some achievement, I guess.” Bharadwaj advised TimesofIndia.com.
He rounded off that introduction with the point out of his first-class report for Karnataka that also stands.
“1280 runs in a season for Karnataka. That’s how I got into the Indian team.”
THE PEAK
In 1999, the bespectacled Bharadwaj began plying his commerce for India as a batting allrounder who may bowl greater than helpful off-spin. He was the seventh man from Karnataka to make the nationwide lower in that prolific period for the state.
Bharadwaj turned out to be the trump card for India in his debut sequence — the four-nation LG Cup in Nairobi in 1999. India misplaced the ultimate to South Africa, however Bharadwaj caught everybody’s consideration with his 10 wickets and 89 runs in 4 ODIs.

It gained him the ‘Man of the Series’ award. The excellent instance of a ‘dream begin’.
“The transition and the gap was too huge. You are straight away playing in front of a crowd of one lakh or billions of eyeballs on TV. How do you handle that pressure? You need to be a little lucky to get the kind of break that I had. I was really high on confidence because I trusted my batting,” the 44-year-old recalled.
Bharadwaj’s subsequent appointment was in opposition to New Zealand at dwelling, and his restricted overs numbers stored bettering, particularly in bowling.
“There also, in the one-day series, I was the highest wicket-taker. Nobody even knows that.”
THE LOWS
His Test debut was on dwelling tracks, the place he had been persistently scoring properly in Ranji Trophy. It was time to do the identical, however on a totally different, greater stage.
The event, maybe, received the higher of the teen.
“I played only one Test match (during that series against the Kiwis). In my debut game, I got out first ball, without even realising what Test cricket is. A golden duck. I was dropped for the third Test,” he recalled.
The subsequent project was Australia — a tour that defines the character of any cricketer. If the on-field sledging checks the thickness of your pores and skin, the heckling on the boundary ropes can simply get in your nerves. Even Virat Kohli discovered himself on the receiving finish of it in Sydney, which led to his notorious finger salute.
“We travelled to Australia, one of the toughest tours. I had never ever seen an Australian pitch before that. I sat (out) for two Test matches. Everybody was failing. Rahul’s series average was somewhere around 15 or 20. Imagine someone who had played 5-6 years of Indian cricket was failing. (Sourav) Ganguly was a failure as well in that series, never got (many) runs. VVS Laxman didn’t score, no opener could score.”

“I went in at No. 6 or No. 7. Imagine the morale of the team. Sachin (Tendulkar) was devastated because he was performing as a batsman, but as a captain he was not able to understand what was happening. So what would happen to a youngster like me when some of the seniors were failing like that. They had no clue what was happening. We lost 3-0.”
“During the Sydney Test that I played, my back got injured badly. For the next one and a half years, I didn’t get up because I was bedridden; and nobody even bothered to ask me what was happening. I was totally lost.” Bharadwaj recalled, whereas talking to TimesofIndia.com.
AN EYE OPERATION GONE WRONG
In a expertise pool as huge as you discover in India, an 12 months’s absence from the scene may simply imply you’re a factor of the previous. Bharadwaj’s case was nothing totally different and it received worse with ill-fated recommendation.
“I used to wear spectacles. So in 2000 (while recovering from the back injury), someone suggested to get the eyes operated (to get rid of the glasses). I did that and lost my eyes as well. My vision went for a toss. After that, I was not the same cricketer anymore,” he recalled.
“When I ultimately got my eyes tested, it was gone, in the sense that I could not even follow the path of the ball while fielding, forget about batting.”
‘MENTALLY WRECKED’
A primary-ball run-out in opposition to Zimbabwe in 2002 and a median India A tour to England the next 12 months meant Bhardawaj went off the selectors’ and crew’s radar, not only for India but in addition in home cricket for Karnataka. The imaginative and prescient was simply not the identical as earlier than.
“I got selected for India A, but I had lost my (best) vision then. I didn’t have the guts to go and tell them ‘don’t select me’. As a youngster, you can’t go and tell people that you can’t see the ball, because you are mentally wrecked. You just go there and try it out.”

Bharadwaj made a transfer to Jharkhand in 2005, however behind his thoughts he knew it was sport over.
‘NOBODY THERE TO HELP YOU OUT’
It’s truthful to assess that the double blow, first the again damage and then imaginative and prescient loss, in the identical 12 months pushed Bharadwaj in direction of the depths of despair.
That continues to be a actuality of sports activities, with present gamers like Glenn Maxwell admitting the identical thanks to the relentless strain to carry out and infinite journey.
But was there a method that Bharadwaj may have sought assist, possibly focus on it with seniors?
The reply he gave was a straight ‘No’, and he had his causes for it.
“No way you could have done that,” he mentioned. “That was not an option at all. You couldn’t have gone and spoken to your seniors or a selector, saying that ‘I am not mentally okay’. You will have to find your own way. That’s how it was. Maybe things have changed now, maybe the board is also open to it now, but those days were something different.”
“It was not the fear of getting dropped, it was the fear of your career ending…I was totally a mental-wreck because I knew I could not play further. I was almost on the verge of breaking down. But in our country, the system says you don’t go and tell someone that you’re suffering.”
“The reason why I’m saying this is that in our country, the stigma is much bigger. If you go and tell someone that I’m suffering, I’m not in the right state of mind, then they will think there’s something wrong with this guy; and that propaganda goes in a negative way. So you hide, don’t tell anyone.”
“Nobody even thought from my point of view. Should I go and tell my parents? Should I go and tell my friends or teammates? Nobody will be there to help you out. That’s how it is. ” Bharadwaj advised TimesofIndia.com.
“They will brand you, saying your temperament is not right, you are not fit enough. That’s how it is. So not only yourself, you’ll have to fight the system, you’re fighting both. How difficult it is – can anybody imagine that?”
“You are lonely, but you will have to fight your own battle. You can’t blame someone else.”
Trying to additional clarify, Bhardawaj spoke about an incident on the tour of Australia.
“Just to give an example, if Shane Warne comes and says ‘I need baked beans and spaghetti’, they say it’s professionalism. But as a vegetarian, if I go and ask, ‘I need something (vegetarian) to eat’, they say ‘you are a cribber’. That’s the response I got, ‘you are a cribber, you crib all the time’. How can there be one rule for Shane Warne and a different one for me?”
‘IT IS OKAY TO FAIL’
Bharadwaj, who went on to create a house for himself by changing into a Level three BCCI coach, desires to take the onus on himself slightly than get entangled in a blame sport. However, he does drop a trace that he may have been a totally different cricketer had luck and circumstances offered him with extra possibilities.

“Now, if I look back, I cannot blame the system. It’s up to us. People have survived. Rahul Dravid, Laxman made comebacks, otherwise Dravid would have been lost for the entire cricketing world. I didn’t have that kind of luck.
“I can not blame anyone, I want to blame myself. But with that blame, I’m not regretting in any respect. The entire concept is to inform the children that it is okay to fail. It’s not a crime to fail, simply go on the market and strive it out. Even if individuals criticise you, that is okay. Nothing will occur,” he said as a message to those who feel disappointed with failure.
“If you see my Twitter account, my bio says ‘failed cricketer’. I haven’t got any regrets in that.”
After coaching stints with the Karnataka Ranji Trophy team, Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League and the Oman national team, Bharadwaj found his niche as an ex-cricketer, in the commentary box. However, he wants to stick to doing commentary only in his mother tongue, Kannada.
“Now I’m very clear that if I do not do commentary, I might not do something with the sport.”

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