PART 4: For the past decade, Perry Goyal has been tackling a different challenge off the cricket field. The Patiala native — part of Virat Kohli’s 2008 champion side — has been managing his family real estate business, including a hotel chain started by his father Radhey Shyam Goyal.
“As a cricketer, one lives a different life and often remains aloof to what is happening in the outside world. When I decided to leave cricket, it was a well thought out decision. I had always believed that the target shouldn’t be just to get into any team but to be able to play 50-100 matches, and when I could not achieve that, I took the decision to leave.
“Initially, it took me some time to understand things such as approvals, construction process, sales network but with time, I learnt it,” says Goyal, who holds an MBA in family business management from SP Jain Institute, Mumbai.
A wicket-keeper batsman, Goyal started training under coach Mahesh Inder Singh, father of Reetinder Singh Sodhi. Goyal came up through the Punjab U-15, U-17 and U-19 sides, but didn’t get to play for the Punjab senior team, although he represented PCA in the Buchi Babu tournament. The 2008 U-19 World Cup remains his only international tournament.
It was during his U-17 days that Goyal first saw Kohli during a tournament in Patiala. “He smashed a double hundred there. Later, when I was part of the U-17 India camp, Virat came to compete in the U-19 zonal tournament. The India U-19 team for the England tour was to be selected after that tournament and Virat’s form was not good.
“A day prior to the team announcement, some teammates talked about Virat’s lack of form. ‘I will hit a double hundred and will be on the flight to England,’ Virat replied. And that’s what happened the next day,” says Goyal.
At the U-19 World Cup, Goyal could not get a single game as the first-choice wicket-keeper Shreevats Goswami played all the matches. The tournament happened when Goyal’s only sister was to be married. He missed the wedding and that happens to be his only regret.
“As a cricketer, I understand that I am playing while someone is sitting out and the same can happen with me. As Shreevats had performed well in earlier tournaments, he was the first choice wicket-keeper. Our coach Dav Whatmore too conveyed the same and I understood. We also understood that the team’s win is ours too. Whenever my mother called, she only asked me to bring the World Cup home and not even ask about my sister’s marriage.”
Goyal remains in touch with his 2008 teammates through social media. “I joined the then Kings XI Punjab management in 2015 and met most of my U-19 teammates during the IPL. We all keep in touch through social media and share our moments of happiness. Recently, when Virat left the captaincy, we all supported his move.”
For Goyal, one memory stands out from the U-19 triumph. “Cricket taught me discipline and that has helped me a lot. I had carried an Indian flag with me to Malaysia. To wave the flag with my teammates after winning the trophy remains my biggest memory.”