'Could be a hero'- the story of Indian cricket's unsung starlet

Shrey Upadhyay

Despite being the second highest wicket-taker for India in 1999-2000 Under-19 World Cup, Anup was not able to fulfill his ultimate dream to play for the Indian senior team

Biographies are often regarded as the best medium for inspiration. Whether it is Sachin Tendulkar's “Playing It My Way” or Yuvraj Singh’s “Test Of My Life”, the stories of sporting heroes are the gems of every reading enthusiast's bookshelf.

Recently, in November 2018, the new biography arrived in the market with the title “Could Be A Hero” written by Naman Dave. This book highlights the journey of former under-19 World Cup member Anup Dave, who played a significant role in India's U-19 World Cup winning team of 1999-2000.

Could Be a Hero - the biography of Anup Dave

Captained by Mohammad Kaif, this team consisted of another name that later went on to become one of the legends in the history of Indian cricket: Yuvraj Singh. Despite being the second highest wicket-taker for India in that Under-19 World Cup, Anup was not able to fulfill his ultimate dream of playing for the Indian senior team.

The Background

India is a country where every child dreams of becoming a cricketer first and anything else later. Irrespective of the size of the city they live in, their economic background or the community they belong to, all Indian children have one thing in common: to wear that Indian national cricket team jersey. What inspires them? What motivates them to begin their mammoth journey towards becoming one of the best few among millions of other cricketers? What is the force behind their will to wake up early and practice day in and day out in the scorching sun?

Many cricketers like Kapil Dev, Lala Amarnath, Sunil Gavaskar, and Sachin Tendulkar have inspired generations of future cricketers. Now the baton of Indian cricket is in the capable hands of Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Virat Kohli. Role models can be initial triggers and are part of the reason why we can see a huge chunk of people from all age groups playing cricket soon after any mega cricket event like the World Cup, Champions Trophy and Indian Premier League. But is it permanent?

India's cricketing culture is defined by inspirational figures

Another bunch of young cricketers is motivated by the exponential rise of money and fame in the sport over the past two decades. Now due to the Ranji Trophy, the lucrative IPL and other domestic tournaments, a career in cricket is not limited to those representing the Indian National Team. Hundreds of cricketers, coaches and support staff are now realizing their dream of becoming full-time cricket professionals. Living a professional life in the sport you love can be another driving force. But can this factor be responsible for developing a great player?

Then there are some lucky ones like Anup Dave, who are attracted to cricket because of their natural calling or passion. The prime joy of standing in a lush green cricket ground with a well-prepared turf wicket on a fine clear sky morning remains unparalleled for them. They consider cricket as an escape from all the worldly affairs, financial calculations, relationship obligations, and an ever-ticking clock. For them, the first experience with the sport is love and then it becomes an addiction. Only this feeling can carry any player to the cricket field every day. However, it is still a doubt whether this is a remedy for playing for the Indian National Team, but one thing is for sure. The player will love, play and follow cricket forever.


Anup Dave's slow left-arm orthodox bowling was the key in India's maiden Under 19 World Cup triumph in 1999-2000.

The literature in 'Could Be A Hero' is taken from the true life events of Anup Dave, and details his journey from a small town with zero facilities to winning ICC Under -19 World Cup. As a young boy, Anup Dave started off his amazing journey from a distant corner of Rajasthan: Banswara. His performances in school tournaments, relentlessness in practicing in the scorching summers of Rajasthan, various summer camps and his life-changing England Tour is narrated in the book. The biography also highlights the impact of several mentors like Bishan Singh Bedi, Roger Binny, and Murali Kartik in his journey. He not only succeeded in overcoming numerous challenges but also accomplished his dream of representing his motherland.

Anup had all the potential to reach the very top, and yet he couldn't receive apt justice for the talent he had. The reasons behind his failure to become a national hero and inability to wear the senior Indian Cricket Team cap is covered in this biography.

Author’s Take

This book is a very honest biography and unlike its contemporaries, it will cause no controversy. The author Naman Dave has wonderfully detailed the story of Anup Dave as well as his modest personality and the extreme challenges and hardships he faced throughout his career. The most intriguing feature of this book is that it has the potential to inspire several budding cricketers in a thoroughly cricket-crazy country. This novel will act as a guideline to every aspiring cricketer, enabling them to choose the right path and make correct decisions through their career. This book is written with the intention that people will be more informed about a World Cupper who rose from the place nobody can imagine of. It is highly recommended for future sportspersons who seek inspiration and guidance in their voyage towards their sporting dreams.