From Times of India (April 2009)
AHMEDABAD: Harshal Patel is just 18 and lives all on his own in his family's house in Navrangpura. Three years ago, he bid goodbye to his parents who are settled in the US, to return to his roots. He had a dream donning the India cap as a cricket player.
Cricket is what brought Harshal back to Gujarat as there was a limit to what he could achieve in the US. Perseverance has paid off finally and he boarded a flight to Australia on Friday as a member of the Indian Under-19 team which will play Tests and ODIs Down Under.
Harshal's story is stuff dreams are made of. "I left a cosy life in New Jersey because I always wanted to be a cricketer," he said and added that his parents, who allowed him to return to Ahmedabad when he was only 15, encouraged his love for cricket. "I live alone and just practise day in and out," said this US Green Card holder who studies first year of BCom at HA College of Commerce. "By staying alone and managing everything on his own, Harshal has matured a lot as a person which is also reflected in his performance," said Gujarat U-19 coach Ashok Mankad.
However, despite staying alone, Harshal never worried about his daily meal because neighbours are always around to offer meals and solve other problems. "I have got lots of love and care from friends around me," he says.
The right-arm fast bowler, who is looking forward to the bouncy pitches in Australia, said, "This tour is a very good stepping stone to launch ourselves. Almost everyone in our national seniors team has graduated from U-19 and India-A teams."