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IPL 2024: Angkrish Raghuvanshi Reaps Reward of Leaving Home at 11 for Cricket

IPL 2024: Angkrish Raghuvanshi left home at 11 to live with Abhishek Nayar. 7 years later, the move has paid off.

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Let's set the record straight from the get-go – Angkrish Raghuvanshi’s story does not fit the archetypal rags-to-riches framework. It is not the tugging-at-heartstrings, emotion-evoking, excruciating-yet-cheerful tale of a cricketer who hailed from an obscure village and earned recognition in the sport, subsequently becoming the proletarian poster boy.

The 18-year-old batter, who scored a half-century on his Indian Premier League (IPL) debut on Wednesday (3 April), hails from a rather affluent family in Delhi. Angkrish’s mother, Malika Raghuvanshi represented India in basketball. His father, Avneesh Raghuvanshi is a former professional tennis player.

That being established, he never had it ‘easy.’ Or, rather, Kolkata Knight Riders’ latest find never wanted to have it easy, with an unyielding and unceasing determination to play for India fuelling his journey from Delhi to Mumbai, at the young age of 11.
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The Decision To Leave Home

Being of an athletic lineage explains why Angkrish dabbled in multiple sports as a child, albeit his affection for cricket was unparalleled. In a conversation with The Quint after his son’s 54-run knock against Delhi Capitals, which also made Angkrish the youngest batter to score an IPL half-century with a strike rate north of 200, Malika Raghuvanshi stated:

As a kid, Angrkish played every sport, from cricket to tennis and football. But cricket came to him naturally. He used to watch cricket matches on TV all the time. That influenced him a lot, he wanted to be good at this since childhood.
Malika Raghuvanshi, Angkrish Raghuvanshi's Mother

Angkrish started his training in Gurgaon when he was ten years of age, but within a year, he wanted to move to Mumbai.

Malika explains:

Angkrish started training in Gurgaon at the age of 10. In only a year, he was being touted to become the captain of the junior team, after scoring 150 runs in a match. But for some reason, he was not happy. I could not understand it. I asked him ‘You should be so proud of yourself, why aren’t you happy?’ Angkrish told me ‘If I play for the Mumbai team, that will be an achievement. But by just playing here I will never be able to make it to the Indian team. This is too easy, I want it the tough way.’
Malika Raghuvanshi, Angkrish Raghuvanshi's Mother
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When Angkrish's determination to make Mumbai his cricketing hub solidified, fate stepped in. His previous visit to Mumbai with Malika's brother, former Mumbai cricketer Sahil Kukreja, got him acquainted with Abhishek Nayar, who is now serving as an assistant coach for the Kolkata Knight Riders.

When the child was determined to relocate to Mumbai, Nayar was summoned.

I was worried. I called Abhishek and said ‘I think the kid has lost it, he seems unhappy when he should be proud of himself.’ Abhishek just laughed at me and said ‘Well, the kid has more brains than you, because he knows where he should be.’
Malika Raghuvanshi, Angkrish Raghuvanshi's Mother

It barely took a few seconds to make a decision, with the rest of the conversation being:

– ‘Is Angkrish ready to come here?’

– ‘Yes, he wants to move to Mumbai.’

– ‘Then bring him to me.’

– ‘Okay, but when?’

– ‘Tomorrow morning.’

IPL 2024: Angkrish Raghuvanshi left home 
at 11 to live with Abhishek Nayar. 7 years later, the move has paid off.

Abhishek Nayar has been training Angkrish Raghuvanshi since the latter was 11.

(Photo: Sourced by The Quint)

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Not only did Nayar offer personal guidance, but also a place to stay.

So, just like that, we actually boarded the next morning’s flight to Mumbai.

So, just like that, we actually boarded the next morning’s flight to Mumbai. Angkrish stayed with Sahil for a week but Abhishek was against it. He said travel in Mumbai takes a lot of time so Angkrish needs to stay with him.
Malika Raghuvanshi, Angkrish Raghuvanshi's Mother
IPL 2024: Angkrish Raghuvanshi left home 
at 11 to live with Abhishek Nayar. 7 years later, the move has paid off.

Abhishek Nayar asked Angkrish to stay with him at his house, to curtail travel time.

(Photo: Sourced by The Quint)

Having been a professional athlete herself, Malika was not afraid of her son moving to a new state, so long it made him happy.

I was not afraid (of Angkrish moving to Mumbai). At a very young age, I travelled all over India to play basketball and I had a lot of fun doing that. So, I wanted my kids to have the same fun. I could not move out with Angkrish because I had to take care of his younger brother. So I told him that if you want to do this, you will have to do it all by yourself. Angkrish said ‘I’ll be happy, don’t worry about me.’ At the age of 11, Angkrish was training 8-10 hours every day with Abhishek.
Malika Raghuvanshi, Angkrish Raghuvanshi's Mother
IPL 2024: Angkrish Raghuvanshi left home 
at 11 to live with Abhishek Nayar. 7 years later, the move has paid off.

A young Angkrish with Virat Kohli.

(Photo: Sourced by The Quint)

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A Call From the Team Bus

Before joining KKR, Angkrish represented India at the 2021 U-19 Asia Cup and the 2022 ICC U-19 Men’s Cricket World Cup, being the team’s leading run-scorer at the latter.

The Raghuvanshis, however, are rarely to be seen in the stadiums

Mallika, who shifted base to Spain’s Barcelona in 2022 to facilitate the tennis career of Angkrish’s brother, Krishang, had recently returned to India for her elder son’s IPL debut. But a stadium visit had to be avoided.

Angkrish does not want his parents at the stadium watching him play, he has made it very clear. He says watching at home will give us a better view. But he Facetimed us straight from the bus after yesterday’s match. He was very happy.
Malika Raghuvanshi, Angkrish Raghuvanshi's Mother
IPL 2024: Angkrish Raghuvanshi left home 
at 11 to live with Abhishek Nayar. 7 years later, the move has paid off.
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The Protege Has Not Forgotten His Master

Speaking to the broadcaster after the match, Angkrish attributed his stellar innings to Abhishek Nayar's guidance and support.

He (Abhishek Nayar) has helped me in every way. The way I think about the game, the way I work towards the game, the things I eat, the way I train. He is basically my guru in everything. He is my mentor in everything. That is my relationship with him. I have learnt a lot from him. Malika is happy that Angkrish has not forgotten who moulded him into a prodigious batter.
Angkrish Raghuvanshi

Malika is happy that Angkrish has not forgotten who moulded him into a prodigious batter.

Abhishek deserves credit more than us. He developed Angkrish into what he is today. Angkrish would not have been at this stage, had it not been for Abhishek. He is not only Angkrish’s coach but also his father, his mentor, and his guru. He dedicated his life to this kid. We are happy that when my son gives interviews now, he thanks Abhishek before us. He has not forgotten who got him here.
Malika Raghuvanshi, Angkrish Raghuvanshi's Mother

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