From Graveyard to Cricket Glory: Inspiring tale of Team India’s throwdown specialist Raghu

12:36 PM Jul 01, 2024 | Team Udayavani |

Following India’s T20 World Cup victory, the entire nation is celebrating with joy. Amidst the dressing room, between the likes of Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, and Jasprit Bumrah, a Karnataka native beams with a satisfied smile. He is none other than Raghavendra, also known as Raghu, India’s throwdown specialist.


From Humble Beginnings to National Hero

Hailing from Kumta in Uttara Kannada district, Raghavendra’s journey to Team India is nothing short of extraordinary. His cricket obsession began in his childhood, dreaming of one day donning the blue jersey. Despite his father’s disapproval, a schoolteacher who couldn’t understand his son’s cricket craze, Raghu’s determination remained unshaken.

A brief stint in Mumbai under cricket coach Ramakant Achrekar further fueled his passion. Upon returning to Kumta, Raghu continued to pursue cricket against his father’s wishes. His unwavering love for the game led him to the Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA) selection trials in Hubballi, despite having no money or place to stay.


Struggles and Resilience

With no relatives or hostel accommodations in Hubballi, Raghu spent about two weeks sleeping at the bus stand. When troubled by the police, he sought refuge at a nearby Hanuman temple, and eventually, the graveyard near KSCA grounds became his home. For four and a half years, Raghu endured the graveyard’s harsh conditions, driven by his cricketing dreams.

His persistence paid off when he took four wickets in a game for the Dharwad zone team, earning him hostel accommodation from the KLE Society. However, this joy was short-lived as he soon suffered a hand injury that ended his bowling career.

A New Path

Facing the end of his playing career, Raghu turned to coaching. He moved to Bengaluru, assisting players at the KIOC Academy. His dedication caught the attention of former cricketers who recommended him to KSCA, where he worked without pay for the Karnataka Ranji team. His selfless service eventually led to a position at the National Cricket Academy (NCA), also without a salary, helping coaches and gaining their trust.

In 2008, Raghu joined the BCCI, aiding players at the NCA. By 2011, he became Team India’s training assistant, specializing in throwdowns. His ability to bowl at speeds of 150-155 km/h in the nets helped Indian batsmen prepare for real matches. Kohli credited Raghu for their success against fast bowlers, while Dhoni referred to him as Team India’s foreign bowler.

A Testament to Dedication

Once sleeping in a graveyard, Raghu now travels the world with Team India. International coaches seek his advice, recognizing his skill and dedication. Raghu’s journey from hardship to the pinnacle of cricket coaching exemplifies the power of passion and perseverance.


Translated from a Kannada article by Keerthan Shetty Bola


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