The expression often refers to a person with a cricketing heritage or a cricket obsessive who never tires of talking about the game. However, 25-year-old Rohan Kunnummal, who matches neither description, has a tale that exemplifies the concept.
The story of Rohan’s cricket career closely resembles the plot of the 2014 Malayalam blockbuster 1983. Sushil Kumar, Rohan’s father, lived that in real life even though Nivin Pauly played the role of Rameshan in the film. They were both obsessed with cricket, but as the story explains, neither had the chance to play at the greatest level.
Story Of Rohan’s
The story of the gifted Kerala opener began in Koyilandy, a small Taluk in the Kozhikode district. Through Rohan, one of the cricket players working to change the game in the state, Sushil was able to live his dream through him.
When Rohan was born, his father Sushil already had a future in mind for the little child in front of him. His intention was always to turn him become a cricketer, and the journey started when he was nine years old. It involved several throwdowns, preparing the field, and—most importantly—teaching the sport’s fundamentals.
Actually, Sushal deserves all the credit for making me a cricket player. They had already agreed that I would play cricket before I was even born since it was always his goal to play, but he was never able to. He has been my coach since I was nine years old, still feeds me balls in the nets at home, and is my everything, Rohan said in an exclusive interview with Cricket.com.
Cricket Practice Story
When I was younger, there used to be a plot in front of our house, but once the monsoon hit, we were unable to practice there. As a result, we moved to a verandah in our old home and set up shop there. He describes the way his practice was conducted when he was younger: “We erected one side net and one side wall.
Rohan’s Cricketing Journey Unveiled
“My dad used to throw me underarm while using a tennis ball that had been taped, and I used to practice. When I was ten years old, I played with a leather ball, and the majority of my practice back then involved a tennis ball.
The narrative doesn’t finish there, as Rohan had the chance to play club cricket with his father, who was a well-known off-spinner on the local cricket circuits, when he was just around 14 years old. But the young player’s evolution over the years, passing from every age-group level in Kerala cricket and moving from Railview Club to Sussex Cricket Academy in Kozhikode, is a tale in and of itself.
With a reckless quality to his batting, Rohan exemplifies the modern cricketer who has studied and learned much of his craft from Virender Sehwag. The 25-year-old hasn’t paid much attention to the instruction manual that says “don’t play aerial shots” because he uses cricket as a form of expression.
Breaking Bounds and Embracing Instincts
“When I was younger, I frequently received reprimands for playing aerially; they usually gave me the advice to play the ball on the ground. When I play taku-taku, though, I am very constrained. I simply stopped worrying about that advice after that and continued playing my natural game. I solely paid attention to my game and supporting myself, he continued.
As a result of his outstanding attacking abilities, Rohan quipped that his senior, Vishnu Vinod, will always be known as the “Kerala Sehwag” in the state’s cricketing community.
They are all legends, so there should be no comparison between me and Virender Sehwag. Actually, there is a different player; his name is Vishnu Vinod, and he is the genuine Keralan Sehwag. I merely fall under that category.
Rohan’s career has gotten off to a rapid start, much like his batting, with the last three years seeing a meteoric rise in his stature. The brash right-hander amassed 972 runs during that span, including four 50s, four 100s, and a run-scoring sequence of 107, 129, 106*, and 75 that cemented his reputation in red-ball cricket. He even went on to play for India ‘A’ in Bangladesh.
Rohan’s Sporting Philosophy
All the while, batting with an average of 81.81 on some of the country’s most difficult wickets. The 25-year-old from Kozhikode passed the 1000-run threshold even at the List-A level, average 57.11 and striking at 107.53 – the greatest stats for anyone with at least 1000 runs from the state.
“I didn’t anticipate this much to happen during the past two years, but it feels so good. Thank God, my efforts are paying off, and I’m very pleased with the advancement, said a fairly modest Rohan.
“Normally, I don’t worry about the statistics; all I want to do is play well in every game and win. I simply don’t care about records, so I don’t go behind them.
Since Kerala didn’t produce many elite cricketers until the turn of the century, when players like Sreesanth, Tinu Yohannan, and Sanju Samson all came out of the shadows to represent the nation, cricket isn’t the state’s favorite sport.
The portrayal of how the Kerala Cricket Association (KCA) helped some genuine talents in the state flourish over the past few years has caused a significant change in the narrative. And they demonstrated why during the 2018–19 Ranji Trophy season.
Kerala not only advanced to the competition’s quarterfinal round, but they also defeated Gujarat to advance to the semifinal round for the first time.
Kerala’s Cricketing Renaissance
“Kerala Cricket Association (KCA) is working really well. They are supporting us to the match, they are providing camp, and they are taking care of everything we need for performing on the field. Kerala cricket has performed admirably over the past five years; we have advanced to nearly every other knock-out round in white-ball competitions.
“We have grown over the past four to five years; this year, our top priority is to claim a championship. All of the U-19 cricketers are graduating, but older players like Sachin Baby, Sanju (Samson) bhai, and Jalaj (Saxena) bhai are still playing. A new batch is emerging. We can learn a lot from their experience, he had to say.
Rohan’s Spectacular Triumphs
The popularity of the game has increased so much in the region that 28-year-old Samson has gained the status of a god among his supporters on social media. Samson’s presence in the Kerala dressing room makes a significant difference after that, too.
“I could feel the pressure, especially during the match versus North Zone. Mayank really supported me, especially during the first 30 runs when he repeatedly talked to me from the other end. After the first 30 runs, I felt like I belonged here, so just be there and play one ball at a time,” he continued.
In the end, Rohan defeated a bowling team that was led by Navdeep Saini and Siddarth Kaul with scores of 143 and 77. A few days later, he replicated his batting masterclass against a potent West Zone team, scoring 93 runs in the second innings, but in vain.
Embracing the Whirlwind
“When things move so quickly, there is always a sense of dread, but we just need to follow the procedure and get on with what we are doing. He emphasized, “We should do what we can, concentrate on the procedure, and remain in the present.
Guidance and Assurance
He is merely supporting his game, which he is aware of. He constantly encouraged me and reminded me to play till a certain number of overs.
Although playing with crowd support is uncommon in domestic cricket, the 25-year-old was fortunate to have South Zone’s support during the Deodhar Trophy final in Puducherry. The crowd fell head over heels for the dashing Kerala batter and began screaming “Rohan, Rohan, Rohan,” practically heralding his entrance onto the greatest stage. It was almost like a festival.
“There was a big crowd, especially for the final, and I got shivers listening to all the ‘Rohan, Rohan’ screams. The audience is enjoyable, but we all perform for ourselves, not for the audience. Therefore, we must comply with whatever the game requires.