The snow was filling up the place. Beautiful White little December snow. At times, it was raining as well. All his countrymen were enjoying the climate, but Neesham prayed for it. He wasn’t happy. He was overthinking. He was hurt. He didn’t know what was happening around him. He prayed for the rains he wouldn’t have to get up early in the morning to play the game again. The game that gave him the identity. The game which was his everything. The game that has pushed him down and left him with injuries. He called his coach to call it a day on his career.
Life was supposed to be easy for Neesh. He had great performances for the Volts, got into the international cricket in 2014. He was supposed to be the next big thing in the cricket. Hey, he had a ton in his debut match against India, followed it up with yet another ton against West Indies. It was all great. He was the frontrunner for the 2015 World Cup or at least I thought, but Grant Elliot was preferred, thanks to his batting abilities. Neesh, disappointed as he rightly should be, was cheering Elliot from the stands when he won the historic semi-final for the team. It was hurting. He wanted to be there, with the team, enjoying the victory not at the rehab table or at the stands. But of course, he wanted the team to win.
What followed was the series of injuries that pushed him back. He had a couple of false starts, and it only took a toll on him. He had to miss a lot of matches because of injuries. It became harder when his beloved Volts made him sit out.
He was a different man online. You will not see the tears that shed from his 480 characters on Twitter. He was unarguably funny, winning hearts with his witty humour. People loved him, but they never knew what he was going through.
When your body is not supporting you, it is normal for someone to go into depression and Neesh is also a human. After the Champions Trophy, he had to sit out, again. Because of injuries, again. He had no other choice than to be hard on himself. He tried everything but things were taking a toll on him. He was depressed with everything, with himself. He wanted more. He was desperate. He was forcing himself so hard that he ended up with nothing, he felt empty and sad.
He called his coach to end his career. He called it a day. He wanted to give up. His coach knew it was just the heat of the moment and not something Neesh really wanted to do. He calmed Neesh down, asked him to keep his mind off cricket.
Months later, he realized he needed help from outside. He was right to call it out loud. It was important. Things would have ended badly if he didn’t call out for help. He rightly ended up meeting a therapist who made him understand that he needed a life outside cricket.
He left the game, took up a job as communications manager at a start-up that made collars for the animals. It was quiet. He was regaining his confidence. He was getting back to normal, and he didn’t have to worry about waking up early in the morning for the nets, and he was helping his body by not giving it a hard time through practice. Life was a routine, and he was calm and was enjoying it.
The job really did change him as a person. The distance he maintained with cricket helped him to grow. He went back, watched his old videos and realized that he is confusing himself with different techniques, thanks to all the coaches in different places wherever he went to play. They were all suggesting different techniques.
Finally, Neesh got the perspective to go to his first coach, where it all started. He began to understand his mistakes and learnt from it, move on.
He then switched to Wellington where he loved the culture and did impress one and all there. He wasn’t stressing perfection, he was happy with what he had even if it is a series of ducks. He was happy just to play the game, he was happy to breathe. His body began to heal too. He was free from injury for the longest part of his career now.
Things really did fall in places for the man. He was one of the top performers for Wellington, and he was selected in the New Zealand squad once again. He made his comeback with five sixes in an over.
The man who was at the stands watching the 2015 World Cup Semi-Finals and wanting to win it for the team by hitting the final shot, bowled India out in the 2019 World Cup Semi-Finals. He also picked up an excellent catch to his name that who knows could have changed the result of the game.
Things are now surreal and have come around for Neesh. If it is destined to happen, it will happen, no matter what, they say. Neesh’s life is a full-circle and is complete.
For the man who makes us all laugh with his wittiness is an inspiration for fighting the odds with himself and defeating it successfully. He deserves to go a step further now.
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