As a child, he wanted to don the India colours and wield the willow to slaughter the fearsome bowling attack anywhere in the world. But Virender Sehwag, the swashbuckling India opener, never forgot for a moment his parental advice not to ignore education.
That was easier said than done, though. The young Sehwag always found it tough shuttling between home and school, especially grappling with the sheer wastage of time while trying to balance academics with his favourite game.
True, his home and school in the 1990s weren't far apart; both were in Najafgarh, then a dusty, underdeveloped colony in southwest Delhi. "But on crowded buses, it isn't easy to carry your heavy cricket kit in your hand and an equally heavy school bag slung across your shoulders. The conductor needn't be kind; you end up wasting hours in transit between school, coaching centre and home," notes Sehwag, whose batting prowess has scripted many an international record.
"I thought of a solution to it: why not set up a world class school where education and top-rate sports facilities will blend seamlessly?''
The result is Sehwag International School (SIS), a 23-acre multi-activity campus in Jhajjar, just south of plush Gurgaon in Haryana. Into its third year, the school is bracing up to take in no less than 150 students in the upcoming academic year.
SIS, for the record, is India's only school to be founded by a cricketer of global repute. A co-ed, boarding-cum-day scholarship institution with 370 students, the school is the realisation of an ideal situation Sehwag had cherished during his evolving years.
"Good schooling is a must even with your passion for sports," notes the Nawab of Najafgarh, who started SIS in 2011 along with his wife Aarti Sehwag, its chairperson. "My aim is to give the young generation all necessary facilities under one roof. An institution where the parental care won't be missing -- with a band of affectionate teachers available round the clock for boarders! A home away from home!"
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