Sonu Sood might have started out to become an engineer, and instead, landed up in acting, but not many people know that he had a keen desire to become a sportsman.

“I am from a sports background, and always wanted to become either a cricketer or footballer; in short, just play some sport and represent my country. I got diverted, but the sportsman in me is still alive,” says Sonu, who shared screen space with Salman Khan in Dabangg (2010).

It is this side of the actor, which made him get a professional cricket pitch constructed in his housing society in Lokhandwala, Mumbai.

“People should have access to sports, especially in cities like Mumbai, where we have a shortage of space. So, I got this pitch constructed for children, and it isn’t just limited to kids in my society, but is open to neighbouring ones as well. There will be cricket kits available, too,” reveals Sonu, whose eight-year old son Ayaan is already on his way to become a cricketer.

Like any proud father, Sonu says, “He [Ayaan] loves cricket. People who have seen him play say he’s the new [Rahul] Dravid in the making! He’s got the footwork and drive. People come and watch him play, since he’s supremely stylish and talented. Elder professional cricketers who have watched him play say they haven’t seen any other eight-year-old play like him.”

The actor also supports the government’s initiative, Khelo India, that is aimed at encouraging and inculcating sports into the day-to-day lives of youngsters early on in their lives.

He shares, “The responsibility lies more on the shoulder of parents, who should push their kids to go out and play. Children these days are glued to the television or smartphones. Their eyesight, too, ultimately suffers.”

Asked if he would be supportive of his son taking up sports as a career once he grows up, Sonu says, “It’s not like if I am an actor, my kids also will have to become one. I try to play with him whenever I get time out of my hectic schedule.”