Tanveer’s journey from Rags-to-Riches

Not everyone is born rich but certainly anyone can become rich. There is no success formula enroute to richness except for dedication and commitment. Be it sports, corporate jobs or any other sector, there have been people who have left an incredible mark behind. Tanveer-ul-Haq is one such example of rags-to-riches story. The young man from Dholpur, Rajasthan may have hogged the limelight but not many know about the struggles he had to face during his early days.

Seeing that his cricket career was going nowhere due lack of finances and facilities, he decided to move out seeking a job in Jaipur but as fate would have it; he lost his wallet and documents on the way while riding pillion with a friend. When he realized what had happened, he knew the road ahead would only throw more challenges at him. That was a phase when he had to work as a car mechanic, distribute newspapers and did a few other mean jobs to sustain himself.

Those days are past and the pacer from Rajasthan is now sure that he will never be part of those scenes anymore. Rajasthan lost in the quarter-finals to Karnataka in the recently concluded Ranji Game, but Tanveer’s season was stellar – an average of 18.52 and a strike-rate of 40.3, while bowling more overs than anyone else in the team.

It’s certainly a rags-to-betterment story. Tanveer’s father worked at a tailor shop and never knew about the hardships his son was going through to make it big in cricket.

As shown in the Bollywood movie Aashayein, where a deaf and dumb boy wants to become a pace bowler but was asked to burn his dreams by his own father, Tanveer too worked out a meticulous routine though in his case, he wasn’t dead against his son’s choice but at the same time wanted to ensure that his son’s doesn’t lose his focus on cricket. He would leave after his father, and come back before him and this was after going for cricket practice.The plan unraveled when Tanveer was late returning home one day.

Henceforth, because of his father, he (Tanveer) had to quit his job. He now took up a job as a newspaper boy. This time the work was early in the morning, so his father thought he is going for Namaaz and cricket practice. But another hurdle came about in the form of a scooter accident, leaving him with a gash above the left eye.

He now was in desperate need of money but didn’t want to burden his family. So Tanveer went to Jaipur to try and become a security guard. “I thought I could work at night, practice in the morning, and then sleep during the day,” he says. But then things didn’t quite go his way. He managed to spend some time in Jaipur with no money. The thought of returning home started coming to his mind because that was the only place where he can still ask for meals three times a day.

As the saying goes, When God closes One Door, he Opens Another, a person named Sumendra Tiwari came to his rescue. Tiwari, who later went on to become the Rajasthan Cricket Association Secretary, ran an academy in Dholpur. How that came about is a story of its own. A neighbour, Dushyant Tyagi, had been an age-group cricketer for Rajasthan, and after much pleading, let Tanveer come along to the academy with him.

Tiwari liked what he saw of the boy, and later asked him to come in whites to play an inter-academy match. He wore a white jersey that his school had given him for being part of the basketball team, and his father’s white pyjamas. The shoes he wore was bought from a roadside seller. Tiwari took one look at him and hollered, ‘What are you wearing? Is this the way to dress for a match? Dress properly for the next game.’

“But of course I didn’t have any other clothes to wear so I wore the same thing for the next match too. Then Tyagi bhaiyya told sir, ‘He doesn’t have the money for new clothes.’ And sir immediately said, ‘He should have told me!’ Then he took me to his home, gave me two sets of jerseys and pants, and a pair of Reebok shoes.”

Tiwari continued to be a benevolent presence in Tanveer’s life. After his fruitless trip to Jaipur, he got a call from Tiwari, who asked him to try out for the Rajasthan Under-22 side. He successfully got into the camp and started playing but again there was a bed of thorns to cross.

Tanveer’s initial years with Rajasthan were marked by limited opportunities. He never played more than five matches in any of the first four seasons after his debut in 2014-15. There were enough pacers and spinners in the Rajasthan State Team who had played at a more prominent level, which meant Tanveer was benched whenever all of them were available. But in 2018-19, there was finally the chance to play a full season, with other fast bowlers unavailable, playing elsewhere, or injured, and Tanveer responded by becoming the team’s highest wicket-taker.