Himachal Pradesh cricketer Pankaj Jaiswal's journey from wrestling to cricket

Himachal Pradesh cricketer Pankaj Jaiswal’s journey from wrestling to cricket

13-year-old Pankaj idolized Shoaib Akhtar and wishes to bowl at 160 kmph like the Pakistani speedster

Pankaj Jaswal
Pankaj Jaswal. (Photo Source: Twitter)

During the Ranji Trophy 2018-19 clash between Bengal and Himachal Pradesh, Pankaj Jaiswal garnered a lot of attention. Hailing from Kangra in Himachal, the right-arm medium pacer went on to record his maiden five-wicket haul in first-class cricket. This performance comes on the back of his show in the Vijay Hazare Trophy where he was the leading wicket-taker for his team.

However, what many don’t know about this 23-year-old is that he comes from a wrestling background. His father Pawan Jaiswal was a former wrestler and was keen for Pankaj to follow his footsteps. In an interview, his dad spoke about how his son’s journey changed from wrestling to cricket. He also drew comparisons between both the sports.

Why did we do so much hardwork? To make you a wrestler

These were the words of Pawan Jaiswal when his son aspired to become a cricketer. 13-year-old Pankaj idolized Shoaib Akhtar and wishes to bowl at 160 kmph like the Pakistani speedster. He was being trained as a wrestler by his father since the age of 5 and hence his father was quite disgruntled.

“Until then I was thinking like a wrestler. Then I thought if I push him into a path he doesn’t like, he would forever carry that grouse, especially if he fails,” he told Indian Express.

Wrestling training turns out to be key in cricket 

Hence, Pankaj was taken to a Cricket Academy in West Delhi where his journey to become a pacer began. He later shifted to Chandigarh where he trained at Rajdeep Kalsi’s Academy. Pawan felt that the training for wrestling went on to help him in his cricketing endeavors.

“In wrestling, we’d observe the opponent’s footwork and figure out whether he’s in a defensive or attacking mindset. We look into his eyes to see whether he’s afraid of me. And then plot our moves accordingly. It’s more or less the same in cricket. It’s not just raw pace I work with, I closely observe their body language,” he told according to Indian Express.

As the bowler broke into an Akhtar style celebration, his father remarked, ‘I’ve become an Akhtar fan after watching him.”

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