Atif Habib Attarwala-From Boisar without shoes to bagging wickets at Wankhede in T20 Mumbai’19

From a man who did not have shoes in his teens to play in a proper match to becoming a pace spearhead in T20 Mumbai’19-Atif Attarwala has certainly had a journey which can inspire many young cricketers.

Atif who had taken 2 wkts for Triumph Knights in the 2nd last over conceding mere 3 runs in the previous season’s finale had already become a star with that performance and this year he is the 2nd highest wicket taker with 8 scalps in 6 games.  The 26yr old left-arm quickster has played for Mumbai under all age groups starting from U14 to U23 and his team mates have been none other than Mumbai’s solid batsman Siddhesh Lad to U19 World Cup winning bowler Harmeet Singh to our Indian Pacemen Shardul Thakur with whom he has played summer camps in teens. Atif believes his friendship with them has been the core and he often feels thankful to have brother like friends in them who have helped him and stayed by him during thick and thin.

When Cricketgraph asked Atif to elaborate on his struggle he said-

“I used to live in Boisar earlier where my father’s salary was a modest Rs 3000 , when I was in 7th or 8th std & I went to the ground to play a match, someone told me that spike shoes are required to play the match.

That’s how I met my mentor Rajesh Sutar sir, me and my mom went to the shop and enquired about the price, the shoes costed as much as my father’s salary and my mom went emotional of the fact that she could not afford it. Sharing her problems, Rajesh Sutar told mom, let him practice, il observe him and if everything falls into place I’ll take care of his expenses.

The next two days I did practice but could not see anyone watching me, then on the following day I took a 7 wkt haul in Giles Shield while I was playing for Tarapur Vidyamandir School and the moment I reached home I could see those brand new spike shoes lying wrapped for me!

Atif shared-Rajesh Sutar has taken care of me in everything and he was the one who told me I should go to proper Mumbai to make a career in cricket”

Atif during his school days

Going to Mumbai, I took 28 wkts in the U15 summer camp, post that, there were a few selection matches where 4 teams are made of each region with the most promising players, in the 1st match itself I took 4 wkts and that’s where Dinesh Lad sir spotted me.

Dinesh Lad offered me to play for SVIS and that’s how my cricketing career took off.  I studied 9th and 10th in SVIS and I also received freeship from SVIS Director Yogesh Patel –a gesture which helped me and many cricketers coming out from that school during that time”

Atif with Siddhesh Lad during their early years

Since I was living in Boisar, Dinesh Lad sir offered me to stay in his own house for 5 years. It felt like just another kid alongwith siddhesh and her sister. They took care of me like any parents would do for their son. Special mention also goes to Deepali Lad (Lad sir’s wife) who is my 2nd mother while Lad sir is my 2nd father. Lad sir and their family though not coming from a illustrous background had the most generous heart and such was the comfort level I being a Muslim would do namaaz at their home everyday and they would embrace me with all the love & warmth.

I also thank my parents who have always supported me, my brothers, my father who is no more but always encouraged me to follow my dreams. Well Atif who has also been in Ranji Probables past 2yrs had an emotional journey and he is certainly seeing the results of the hard work which he and his coaches have invested. We wish him all the luck as he keeps progressing in his Cricket Career.


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