India, April 7 -- "I had only one thing on my mind. The harder I work, the more consistent I become. Someday, my opportunity will come."

Those are cliches, delivered in a matter-of-fact tone that completely belies the hard, gritty truth behind them: Suryakumar Yadav has lived those words. He set out with a dream of playing for India 11 years ago, and last month, at the age of 30, that dream finally came true.

In the middle, he has gone through it all. Yadav was not a prodigy; he was a powerful player with a major weakness--he did not have shots to offer on the off side.

Then there were allegations of dressing room strife, indiscipline, being hauled up by the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) once for questioning his exclusion from the s...