Before yesterday, if you had mentioned Nicholas Pooran to an Indian, chances are very high that you would have gotten a 'who?' in response.
There wasn't much to remember him by.
And then one blinder changed it all.
In the match, he saved his side - Kings XI Punjab - 6 runs, which were ultimately not enough as they lost to Rajasthan Royals.
He didn't get any wicket either.
But the crowd-less stadium, the teams, and the cameras witnessed glory that didn't need the stamp of a dismissal or a victory to be celebrated. How often does that happen, now?
When the #godofcricket @sachin_rt says it is, then there really is NO question about it being THE best save, EVER. Fantastic work by @nicholas_47 who inspired the rest of the @lionsdenkxip fielders to put on 1 of the best defensive fielding displays I have ever seen #proudcoach https://t.co/tBZoyJ97HJ— Jonty Rhodes (@JontyRhodes8) September 28, 2020
We Indians are very generous with our love for cricketers and in many ways, this was the biggest night of Pooran's cricket career.
But behind those 5 seconds of a brilliant effort are years of struggle that no one knows about.
I'll get right into it. This was Pooran in 2015.
5 years ago, Pooran met with an accident that wrecked his legs. Recalling which, he told ESPN Cricinfo:
I was coming back home from training, driving. I was close to home and a car was overtaking another car, so I pulled away. I hit a sand heap and then I came back onto the road and another vehicle hit me.
Yesterday Night we saw @nicholas_47's unreal effort to save the Six at the edge of the boundary with literally flying on the ropes.— Captain Jack Sparrow (@dakait23) September 28, 2020
But the same pooran had a serious car accident back in 2015 when he was just 19 years old.
Look at his both legs in plaster👇🏼🥺
When he gained consciousness, he realised he was still at the site of the accident, and that he couldn't move his legs. Pooran had ruptured his patellar tendon and fractured his right ankle.
The obvious question was whether he would be able to play cricket again.
The first thing I asked the doctors was if I could play cricket again. At first they weren't too sure until they did the surgery.
Nicolas Pooran had a career threatening injury in 2015. He injured his left leg in a car accident. Doctors were unsure whether he'll be able to play cricket again or not. This guy came back ever so strongly and has made a huge impact in international cricket. https://t.co/KuDyyrvU3Z— Beghairt ghareeb berozgar bhaya (@Sattijayyy) September 28, 2020
The doctors couldn't give him a solid answer and wanted to wait and see how his body reacts to the procedure.
Ultimately things worked in his favour, but a lot of effort went into it. He was bound to a wheelchair for months, and with nothing else to do, he'd just sleep so that he didn't feel sad.
I tried to sleep as long as possible. If I sleep late, the day will be short.
However, there was one thing he did religiously. He went for therapy.
By his own admission, it was boring at times, but he knew he had to do it. Then, 6 months later, the champion was back on his feet again.
Sanju Samson done this same before also on previous seasons... but the thing is Nicholas Pooran... He met with an accident and his both legs are fractured.. from there he reached upto this level of fitness that’s great thing.. Self determination... hats off for that 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼— Praveen Narayanan (@prave884) September 27, 2020
Which, of course, was only the beginning. He had a long road to cover, but cricket was the sole passion of his life so he gave everything to it.
In no time, he was playing again, and what we saw last night was just a glimpse of his tremendous improvement.
Still, it is unreal to think that the 'flying fielder' from yesterday's match couldn't keep his foot on the ground for months at end. But I guess we all know that cricket is unreal at times.
Greatest fielding effort I have ever seen in my life by Nicolas Pooran.— Chai-Shai (@aashish_sarda) September 27, 2020
This is the same guy who had an accident in 2015 and broke his legs which almost ended his career.#Pooran#RRvKXIP pic.twitter.com/qHrcjxzXJQ