Haryana Opener Nitin Saini Narrates Tale Of Bloodthirsty Mob During Jat Agitation
“It’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get up,” says Vince Lombardi, an American football player and coach which holds true for Haryana wicketkeeper and opening batsman Nitin Saini, who is now one of the top run-scorers in Ranji Trophy for believing in himself after showing his spirit which cricket has taught him throughout the years.
The 28-year-old narrated the dreadful experience when Jat stir held in February for reservation turned ugly in which over 30 people were killed and which further led to the damage of public property worth crores.
“We saw the bloodthirsty mob had come right next to our doorstep. Barely 20 feet away, before they turned back,” recollects Saini, as quoted by Indian Express.
Among the deceased was Saini’s friend Anil Saini, who ventured out from his home to have a look at his shop if there was anything to salvage.
“But the mob returned and Anil Saini ran for his life, but in the haste, he came in contact with a live electrical wire. Bhasm ho gaya. Meri age ka tha,” Saini recalls.
The Rohtak-born Saini, who has been in remarkable form, had amassed 926 runs in nine matches this season (without considering the ongoing quarterfinal game), months after he had hardly picked a bat to go for practice sessions during the riots. In 2011-12, his previous best was 631 runs.
“Because what I have seen and experienced earlier this year has made me mentally so tough that there is nothing in cricket that will ever affect me,” Saini said.
The right-handed batsman was holed up with his family for three days without much food, water at his disposal before spending enough time on the terrace with family including his 3-year-old daughter Kavya.
“From our terrace, where we were hiding, I took pictures and also made a video thinking ke bach gaye to kisi ko dikhayenge; aur mar gaye to koi khud dekh lega that this is how it happened,” recalls Saini.
Saini, who didn’t anticipate the violence in his hometown which started on February 18, called the experience “scary”.
“On February 17, I had gone to Delhi to play a match for my employers, Food Corporation of India. I drove down early in the morning, and though I saw protesters everywhere, they weren’t violent. On my way back, however, all roads were blocked. From the Delhi border to Rohtak, it’s hardly an hour’s drive. It took me eight that day,” he added.
After the reports of clashes between the two factions (non-Jats and Jats) over the strike which spread like a wildfire, the life came to a halt in Haryana for next three days.
“Hum neeche baithey the, verandah mein. Ke hangama shuru ho gaya. News pe aane laga, phone pe logo ne batana shuru kiya ke dange shuru ho gaye hain. Then we saw it from our rooftop that the mob was coming, carrying all kinds of weapons. Trolleys me bhar bhar ke le ke gaye saaman, baki jo nahi carry kar paye, sab jala diya,” recalls Saini’s mother Dhanvanti Devi
The conditions at his [Saini’s] home ground Lahli are bowlers friendly and Saini has prepared well in the past in the backyard to be among runs while learning the nuances of the game at his will.
“What we face at Lahli, in terms of medium pace, you are never settled there. It’s literally the one-ball game cricket can be. So the practice I have put in at Lahli has helped me here. Mind you, they were still fairly bowler-friendly conditions and mostly seamer-friendly, but once you have played at Lahli, you can even play at Lord’s,” Saini concluded.
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