By Anushka Gupta and Malavika Romel (CBSE 12)
Encouraging words and thunderous applause filled the auditorium at the GIIS East Coast Campus as cricketing legend Virender Sehwag took the stage and shared his life’s journey with the students at a recently held Leadership Lecture Series in Singapore.
Speaking to a packed auditorium comprising students, teachers, parents and the employees and dignitaries of Global Indian International School (GIIS), Mr Sehwag was candid about this early days as a struggling young cricketer from a middle class family in Najafgarh, but said that it was his passion for the sport that sailed him through.
"Passion can never be imposed upon anyone. If you don’t love it, you can’t learn it,” he told the students, mostly from GIIS Gold Squad Cricket team, who thronged the event in their team colours and cricketing gear.
He shared an anecdote when as a four-year old he had cried for a cricket bat, surprising everyone in his 55 member joint family of farmers. He eventually got a plastic ball and bat, he said, bringing down the house, and adding: There is not age to start playing cricket, but one needs 15-20 years of practise to make a career out of it.
The students also listened with attention as the ’Nawab of Najafgarh’ shared his views on a range of topics including his brush with failure, the challenges to his integrity and his determination to play his best cricket despite all odds.
“I was given one chance to make it to the India squad. My first chance was going to be my last chance,” said Mr Sehwag, who described how as a budding player he was overlooked many times despite good performances, and was asked, but refused, to pay a bribe to make it to the team. Thunderous applause followed as parents and students cheered his decision to make it in the team on his talent rather than anything else.
Mr Sehwag later joined in a panel discussion with GIIS students where he was asked a range of questions from his views on India’s team for the World Cup to data analysis in sports. Getting data to analyse a game and gauge the strengths of players is a great boon to sport, he said, applauding GIIS efforts to introduce SPEDAS - Sports Performance Enhancing Data Analytics System - at its new SMART Campus in Punggol for certain sports.
The LLS was attended by GIIS Cofounder and Chairman Mr Atul Temurnikar, Deputy chief operating officer Mr Rajeev Katyal, Deputy chief executive officer Kaustubh Bodhankar, GIIS East Coast principal Melissa Maria and other dignitaries from the school. Later, Mr Sehwag was felicitated and given a token of appreciation. He also signed GIIS guest book. He then took to the field with GIIS Gold Squad team and had a practice round with them to encourage the student players.
The Leadership Lecture Series brings in political, cultural, artistic, athletic and scientific leaders from across the globe to various GIIS campuses, where they interact with students to inspire creativity, passion and action in them, encouraging them to be responsible citizens.