Monank Patel: From Restaurateur To Leading USA’s Historic Cricket Victory

Monank Patel: From Restaurateur To Leading USA’s Historic Cricket Victory

Monank Patel

Monank Patel, the USA cricket captain, led his team to a historic win over the 2022 T20 World Cup finalists, Pakistan, with a standout performance that included a powerful six off Shaheen Afridi. Commentator Rameez Raja praised his batting, comparing it to a monarch’s.

Monank believes in destiny and reflects on his journey from running a restaurant in South Carolina to playing in the World Cup. After his aspirations in Indian U-19 cricket didn’t pan out, Monank moved to New Jersey in 2014. In 2016, he started a Chinese restaurant called ‘Teriyaki Madness’, working long hours daily to keep it running.

However, his business faced declining sales, forcing him to take on multiple roles to save costs. During this tough period, his mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer, which led him to sell his struggling business and move back to New Jersey with only $3,000, to be with his mother.

Monank made his USA debut in September 2018 and quickly made an impact by leading the run charts and scoring a century against Uganda. His mother, though very ill, was delighted by his success. She passed away a month later, urging Monank to keep playing and working hard with her final words. Monank often recalls his special bond with his mother and credits her for his motivation to play cricket.

Despite a poor performance during a tour in Nepal in 2019, where he struggled against Sandeep Lamichhanne, Monank was determined to improve. Unable to sleep, he wrote “I will work hard” repeatedly on four pages of a notepad. He then contacted the new coach, J Arun Kumar, expressing his desire to be the top scorer in the next tournament.

Monank’s Triumph Over Adversity: From Gujarat Struggles to World Cup Success

In the USA’s first World Cup League 2 ODI after the pandemic, Monank faced his nemesis Sandeep again and scored a match-winning century, demonstrating his resolve and hard work. Monank recalled how he dedicated hours to practice and analyze Sandeep’s bowling videos to prepare for this moment.

USA
USA

Growing up in Anand, Gujarat, Monank had to break through the strong lobby of players from Ahmedabad and Surat to make it to the Gujarat Cricket Association (GCA) age group sides. After a disappointing start in the inter-district U15 competition, he bounced back with consecutive centuries, earning his place in the GCA team.

“My thinking, my mindset reacts to it. I react naturally in those situations. I had locked what Pubudu had said in my mind. I do my best in those times. In do-or-die situations I play more responsibly. I’m in that kind of a zone. I don’t over-prepare the day before. Those tough situations actually help me in getting into that zone naturally. The zone where I am batting at my best”

“I get so focused that I don’t get any other thoughts. I focus on playing clean. Avoid any mistakes whatsoever. In that zone my mind doesn’t tell me to do contradictory things. I play long, collective, calculative. It is just an autopilot. You don’t get that zone every day, that zone takes over me in those situations where I have no choice but to perform. Those instances where you have your back against the wall.”

Monank’s Leadership and Adaptability Unite USA Cricket Team Amid Historic Wins

Before his match-winning half-century against Pakistan, Monank Patel had to summon his fighting spirit. Facing the fast and fierce Pakistani bowlers was new to him, but he managed to handle the pressure and then play some impressive shots. This victory was his second consecutive win as USA captain, making the team strong contenders for the Super 8 stage.

Leading the USA cricket team is challenging due to its diversity in race, nationality, and religion. However, Monank’s adaptable personality helps him manage this well. Known for his social flexibility, he easily picks up new accents, like Jamaican, and acts as a unifying force for the team. His hotel room often serves as a hub for FIFA PlayStation games and team gatherings for drinks on their days off.

After the USA’s win over Canada in their opening game, Monank, even while sick with a fever, allowed the team to continue celebrating in his suite while he rested in the bedroom. Following their historic second win, Monank likely won’t mind hosting another celebratory night.


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