New Delhi: Nearly nine years ago, 18-year-old Parvinder Awana from Harola village in Noida, and 19-year-old Ashok Dinda, from a hamlet called Naichanpur in West Bengal, decided to participate in the 'Speedster Contest' by a popular channel in pursuit of better life.
"I came first in that speedster contest and Dinda came second. We both were very raw then with no experience of even age-group cricket. That was the start and now we both will share the Indian dressing room. It's the biggest moment of my life but didn't I work hard all this while for this day," an emotional Awana told PTI over telephone from Bangalore.
"I was batting on 42 today when the 12th man came in and gave me the news. It was such a relief that I changed my gears immediately out of sheer joy," said Awana, whose smashing 74 gave Delhi the first-innings lead against Karnataka in their Ranji Trophy match.
The 26-year-old, however, said that he was expecting a call-up sooner or later.
"Since I had back-to-back five-wicket hauls and I have been taking wickets, I felt there is an outside chance. It's only that you don't know till you officially hear it.
He has been the find for Kings XI Punjab in the last IPL but Awana attributes his success to his exploits for Delhi in the Ranji Trophy for the past few seasons.
"I knew that my good performances in the Ranji Trophy won't go in vain. It's serious first-class cricket. Wearing the India A jersey also made me realise what is expected at this level. I don't want to try anything exceptional and stick to what I have been doing well so far," said the soft-spoken lad.
Five years of first-class cricket and money in IPL haven't changed Awana one bit - he is still the oh-so modest guy from a small village.
"Without my Delhi teammates and support of my mother and brother, I wouldn't have been able to come this far," he excused himself as he wanted to speak to his mother after hard day in office.