Tilak Varma’s decade-long trek: Falling asleep on the way to training at 11, dream of being drafted into the Indian national team at 20

I first saw Tilak at the Barkas court, where he was playing cricket with his friends. I asked him where he was training. He replied: I only play on this court. Then I called his father. I asked him to enroll Tilak in the academy because he has potential, Bayash told the Indian Express.

Tilak’s father, Namburi Nagaraju, an electrician by profession, did not want to allow his son to play cricket because of his financial situation.

His father did not agree at first because of their financial difficulties. Their house is two kilometers from my house and I said I would take the responsibility of transporting Tilak. You would not have to pick him up and drop him off every day, and I would also waive his tuition. Then they agreed, he added.

The cricket academy where Tilak Varma trained was in Lingampally, Hyderabad, about 40 kilometers from his home, Chandrayan Gutta, the old city of Hyderabad. But Varma rarely missed training because his coach, Salam Bayash, drove him all the way by bicycle. Every day.

Namburi Nagaraju says that if not for Salam Bayash, Tilak would never have made it this far: Coach said: ‘Trust me and leave him in my hands; he told us to have complete faith in him. ‘Your child is talented, give him moral support. That’s what Bayash sir told us.

From then on, every day, Bayash would pick Varma up at 5 a.m. and take him to the academy. Sometimesphy for Hyderabad.

Guru-Shishya tradition

In IPL 2022, during a game between Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings at Wankhede Stadium, Varma, while celebrating winning the match, folded his arm towards his coach, who was watching him from the stands.

Bayash revealed the secret of this celebration: Before that match he was throwing away his wicket and I got very angry with him. So I was watching that match, he finished the job, and that gesture was addressed to me to see that I could finish games.

Last year when he was in the NCA before he was selected for the India A team. He failed to score in the first three games. He said to me, Sir, I can’t score in red ball. I asked him to describe how he came out of the game, all the shots were out of bounds. I went out of my mind again. In the final game, he scored 109 in the second inning and then told me: I didn’t make a single reverse hit. Usko beech beech mey tablet dete rehna padta hai (I will scold him from time to time to keep his spirits up), Bayash said.

In terms of cricket, his discipline is number one. He comes in the morning at 6 and leaves in the evening at 7. Mera battery khatam ho jata tha uske chakkarmey (I used to get tired because of him).

Every time his parents wanted him to attend a family party, he refused because he always wanted to practice. After a few years, I begged him: Go have fun, take a break.

Playing straight bat


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