The 19th Asian Games are just a couple of months away, and Vidarbha wicketkeeper-batter Jitesh Sharma is eagerly looking forward to representing India in the quadrennial event in Hangzhou, China. Cricket is making a comeback in the Asian Games after 9 years, and this time, India will participate in both the men’s and women’s categories.
For Jitesh, this will be a unique experience compared to his usual cricketing journey. Having played domestic cricket for Vidarbha and shared dressing rooms with stalwarts in the IPL and international cricket, he will now join a group of young cricketers as they set off for China in pursuit of a gold medal for their country – a rare achievement in cricket.
“Aaj tak to ye sab sirf TV par dekha tha, ‘Milkha Singh’ ki movie mein… ab khud experience karunga” (Until now, I have only seen all this on TV, especially in the movie ‘Milkha Singh’… now I will experience it myself), said Jitesh, feeling fortunate to be part of the Indian squad for the Asian Games. Wearing the blue jersey in China for the first time will be a significant milestone, and the 29-year-old is focused on standing on the podium, singing the national anthem with a gold medal around his neck.
In an exclusive conversation with News18 CricketNext, Jitesh discussed his unexpected call-up for the Asian Games, his cricketing journey so far, life at the Punjab Kings camp in the IPL, and much more. hen asked about the feeling of wearing the Indian jersey, Jitesh expressed his pride and a sense of responsibility. He understands the importance of representing the country and hopes to do justice to the jersey with his performance.
‘Aaj tak to ye sab sirf TV par dekha tha… ab khud experience karunga’@jiteshsharma_ talks about his unexpected Asiad call-up, his cricket journey, life at Punjab Kings in IPL & more
— News18 CricketNext (@cricketnext) July 18, 2023
Regarding the young team playing in the Asian Games, Jitesh acknowledged that it will be a challenge for the coaches to manage everyone. However, he believes that the team’s familiarity with each other from playing together for their states and clubs will contribute to their unity and make the tour a highly memorable experience.
Jitesh expressed his excitement about going to the Asian Games, highlighting how he had only seen such events on TV or in movies like “Milkha Singh.” He considers himself lucky to have the opportunity to represent his country and hopes to bring home as many medals as possible, supporting athletes from other sports along the way.
When discussing the team’s captain, Jitesh praised Shikhar Dhawan’s calm and controlled personality. Having played for Chennai Super Kings and been under the mentorship of MS Dhoni, Dhawan brings valuable experience and a clear-minded approach to leadership. Jitesh believes that playing under Dhawan’s guidance will be a great experience, as his composure allows for clear thinking and decision-making.
As Jitesh and his teammates prepare for the Asian Games, they are focused on standing together as a team, representing their country with pride, and cherishing the opportunity to compete on a grand stage.