Skalzang Kalyan Dorje has worn multiple hats in his 31 years of life. He has been trained as a monk, taught physical education to students, worked as a sales manager at a Decathlon sports outlet and also managed trekking camps during the tourist season.
He says that he also used to herd goats many years ago. He is now the first Ladakhi to play domestic cricket. He played for Jammu and Kashmir at Syed Mushtaq T20 Tournament. If 2020-2021 Ranji Trophy season were not cancelled because of ongoing pandemic then Dorje could have become the first player from Ladakh to become a First Class cricketer. Ladakhi cricket players are a part of the J&K team as of now.
Parvez Rasool, J&K cricket team captain says that Dorje bowled some of their good batsman in practice matches in Ladakh. He’s a fine left-arm spinner, a great fielder and a good batsman. He is full of potential but he would have to work hard in order to unleash that.
Dorje started playing cricket in 1999 when he was of 10 years. He remembers that Cricket World Cup was going on in England at that time and all his seniors in the hostel were very excited. He was clueless about the sport. His knowledge was limited to goat-herding which he deeply loved. His interest in cricket started growing soon and he started playing with his seniors. They broke many windows while playing and were beaten but their interest for cricket was far greater than their fear of getting beaten again.
Once he was graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Physical Education, he had to earn his living so he started working as teacher in a school. He almost stopped playing cricket by 2011 as he was too busy shuffling between his jobs. He would work as a trekking camp manager when there were a peak season and as a PE teacher in the off-season.
His life took a turn when a stadium was built in Ladakh in 2015. Cricket Association of Ladakh (CAL) would organize tournaments from March to May and he would almost always win man of the tournament award. He would win many prizes like a television, refrigerator, washing machine and so on.
As Dorje win another ‘man of the series’ award in 2020, he was given a chance to attend trials for J&K team. He now looks forward to play for the team. Even though age is not a positive factor in his career as a cricket player, still he has already achieved so much that it hardly matters.