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Cricket, engineering, and finally entrepreneurship: Sachin's life journey

Sachin Pandey would’ve played for his favourite IPL team had it not been for a freak accident which brutally shattered his cricket playing dreams. A genuine fast bowler, Pandey has not bowled a ball since that doomed day. But there was life beyond cricket, and he rose like a phoenix, dabbling in multiple fields, trying to find their feet. Finally, Pandey has founded Skillship Foundation, where he is helping many students like him finding their feet, career, and life.

If you are looking for a gritty, inspirational story, look no further. Here is Sachin's story.

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Every person has a dream to achieve something and (make) their parents proud. My father is a huge fan of cricket and by profession, he is a priest (Pandit Ji). I too am deeply passionate about playing cricket.

When I was in Class VI, I asked my father if I could play cricket professionally, and his answer was affirmative. I must stress here that my parents never said no to my genuine needs or demands. Although I belonged to a lower-middle-class family, where my father earned between Rs 3,000-5000 a month, he still decided to send me for coaching.

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He chose the famous cricket club "Reshimbaug Gymkhana", around 9 km from my home. father managed everything from enrolment to other admission formalities. I still remember my first cricket bat (copy of RBK -Kashmir Willow) and next one was SG RADIX.

I started practising cricket under the guidance of Coach Shishir Sudame Sir, Mr. Bhola Sir, and Shukla till 10th standard and I continued playing for Reshimbaug Gymkhana. I remember during my 10th board exam time I was practising on the ground while all my friends were studying hard! However, I cleared the 10th board examination by getting 52 percent marks.

It was then, my cousin, Diwakar suggested me to do Polytechnic.

To be frank, I did not know what polytechnic meant. The fee was too high – up to 45k per year – and we visited more than 12 colleges in Nagpur, and finally picked KR Pandav Polytechnic which came under the Pandav Group of Institution.

During my polytechnic days, I met Amit Bhoyar at an internet café, who happened to be a cricket coach. We started chatting and he invited me to WCA (World Cricket Academy).

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That was the time when under-19 England team was coming at Talegaon. Since I was an all-rounder, I got a chance to share the net session with the team. So I went to WCA Academy (Baat & Bowl) or you can say that (Institute of sports)

There I met many budding cricketers and I also met Jubin Bharucha, a former Indian cricketer. He worked as the team director of Rajasthan Royals from 2008 to 2015. The next person I remember is Romi Bhinder, who is also Assistant Team Manager @ Rajasthan Royals.

During the camp, he told me that I had the potential to become a wonderful player and amazing bowler and my bowling speed was 110-115 km/hour then. After the completion of the camp, I went back to Nagpur to join the college.

Next time, I shared the net session with the Canada International team where I bowled to Jimmy Hansra, who was the captain of the team and I got an opportunity to bowl him in the net session.

Everything was set and going as I planned, but you know things do not always work as per the plan. I was totally dedicated to my practice, with dreams of playing for my favourite IPL team.

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But destiny had other ideas. During 2011-2014, I cleared my Diploma (Polytechnic) Exam with first-class and joined Engineering. I started playing for my college team and my dreams came crashing down when I met with an accident, that too because of someone else’s mistake.

My right shoulder was totally dislocated and I did not have the money to go for a surgery. That day, that accident, ruined my entire dreams, my parents’ dream, and I was completely shattered. My best friend Gagandeep was the only person who understood the pain I went through as my parents weren’t aware about this accident. They have assumed that I left cricket to concentrate on my studies. Even now, when I walk past a ground, I get emotional and, sometimes even tears start trickling down my face. ]

Since cricket was a closed chapter, I decided to turn my focus on my studies and become a good engineer. When was in the final year of polytechnic I started doing a part-time business in sales and servicing of computers.

During my second year of engineering, I started doing business with my friend Mangesh and I worked as a website. Many big companies were started in the garage and our dreams started with someone other homes. We got our first project which is a service provider website called Hexabuddy.in which is something similar to Urban Clap.

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Meanwhile, I also completed my engineering journey. I realised was wasting my time as the education system was totally pointless while companies expectations were different. Corporates are working on the latest technology whereas our courses were obsolete. Along with Gagandeep, I enrolled for a course at IT TECHNOBASE SOLUTION, even though it was tough for us to pay the fees. I also started working on an Android mini-project for my college. My HOD Prof. V.W. Wankhede always encouraged me to do something out of the box. Prof.Anirudh Bhagwat was also another inspirational figure.

I completed my graduation in Computer Engineering in 2017 with a first-class degree. I also cracked the campus interview of Amazon but never wanted to do a job in the BPO sector, so I left. Later, I met Vaibhav Deshpande, founder & CEO of IT TECHNOBASE. He offered me a job and I could also learn a lot from him. He also asked told me to work for him, with some conditions though. For two months he offered me a salary of Rs 2,000 and 3,000 respectively and for the third month onwards my pay was in the range Rs 4,000 to Rs 8,000.

Thanks to a friend in Pune, Himanshu Chintole, I joined a BPO company. I tried to switch companies, and many places, however my experience was really bad. During this period, I was demotivated and depressed, but I never lost hope.

It was then I asked my friend Mangesh if we could start something in the skills sector in education. Thus we decided to start something for non-technical people. We encouraged students to start their own startup "We a job creator, not a seeker"

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Thus on 24 July 2019, we established Skillship Foundation, officially registered as a section-8 Company incorporated under the Government of India. In the last eight months, we helped more than 6,000 students both online and offline. We are working in six major cities of India and we have one chapter in Germany also.

My concluding statement is: If you have the zeal to do anything and with your patience, you can achieve anything whatever you want. Always remember The Secret of Success is sticking to the purpose"

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From the above conversation, we understand that your primary passion remains cricket. Do you miss playing cricket? Had that accident not happened, do you think you could have played IPL, maybe?

Yes, I miss playing cricket a lot. After that accident, I have never bowled which hurts me even now. Yeah, looking back, there were great chances that I could have played for Rajasthan Royals. Fate had other ideas.

Before launching the skilling company, you have dabbled in multiple companies. How tough were those periods?

To be honest, those were my actual learning days. I also experienced how team leaders manage their teams, and things like how to be a team player and other managerial lessons. From a crisis, we learn big lessons in life. Interestingly, I switched more than 4 companies and all four were from different sectors. So, looking back, it was a great experience.

What was the one single thing that kept your spirits high?

My inner motivation, and my learning spirit.

Tell us more about the Skillship Foundation?

Basically, Skillship Foundation is a Section 8 company which works in the technical and non-technical sector. It’s also working like in an incubation centre for the early age stage startup. Currently, we have incubated two startups. Skillship works in tier-2 and tier-3 cities of India and supports students by providing them guidance to achieve their goals. I truly believe if you get a good mentor at the right time, achieving something in life becomes easier.

How do you help students and how does it work?

It’s more like group studies in colleges. Group study benefits students because if someone knows to answer A they will direct dictate to another person and it saves time. so we are using the same concept here that is in the form of the community if any person needs any help in whatever field next person is available to help them. Our basic idea is to help beginners sharpen their skills in the technology sector and non-tech. In the Tech Sector, we help students learn programming languages by hosting technical fests, security fests and boot camps. We also have a virtual learning program for students that want to learn programming skills every week. We have mentors that can teach every enrolled student weekly.
In the Non-technical sector, we encourage students in public speaking and marketing. In a nutshell, you can say skillship is a hub of the community.

What about your German chapter?

We collaborated with a German company called Techeroes. We support kids and youths with technical skills so they become fluent in that we believe in diversity. Check this out: https://skillshipfoundation.com/international/

How can a student approach your Foundation if they want certain guidance?

We have our website and a huge presence on social media. Check the website:

Tell us about those habits of yours
which you are proud of?

  • I am always ready to meet new peoples
  • Persistence - This is one-key habit which I had since the beginning; I don't like to stop in the middle due to so and so reasons, I like to keep doing something until I'm perfect at it, no matter what happens.
  • I love to read books and novels
  • I always ready to help people
  • Take risks.
  • I always enjoy my work and love to play with my turtle #skiller

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