Studies in Contrast: Umesh Yadav (left) and Varun Aaron (Photo courtesy: hindustantimes.com)
They have shown that all it takes to succeed is an idea, a dream, a lot of hard work and an element of luck. The rise of players like Umesh Yadav, Varun Aaron and Ajinkya Rahane has come as a confirmation that dreams are no longer a prerogative of the metros likes Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad.
A little over two decades ago, when cricket telecasts were still being produced by Doordarshan, it was hard to imagine so Indian cricketers coming from such diverse locations. The selling of TV rights to cable and satellite companies has had a huge role in the spawning of such dreams in small towns like Rae Bareily and Jamshedpur, Kochi and Cuttack, Moradabad and Gadag, Allahabad and Ikhar, Jalandhar and Ranchi.
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You do not have to strain your ears to hear the continuing buzz on 23-year-old Piyush Chawla and his selection in the Indian team for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011. After he spent more than two years in the sidelines when others like Amit Mishra and Pragyan Ojha travelled with India’s Test and one-day international teams, the 23-year-old who answers to the call of Paras after the fabled stone that is reputed to turn all metal it touches to gold was picked ostensibly because captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni sought to have variety in the bowling attack.
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The phone rang almost as soon as I completed a show on All India Radio where I was a guest, answering questions during the supper break in the Compaq Cup match between India and New Zealand on a hectic Friday. “Can I also ask you a question?” said the distinctively deep voice, whose owner answers to the name of Kapil Dev.
Kapil Dev remains forthright as ever (Photo courtesy: Laureus Academy)
I have always valued feedback – criticism and appreciation – as being essential to any communication and hearing from Kapil Dev was a humbling experience. The immediate feeling was not of elation that India’s only World Cup winning captain called but of satisfaction that the show was being heard and elicited feedback.
“I also call Rakesh-saab,” he said during the conversation, alluding to former India leg-spinner Rakesh Shukla who was on the show called Kaun Banega Vijeta? To hear a man who had played 131 Tests for India without ever missing one on fitness grounds use the respectful saab for a man who played but one Test match in 1982 was, simply stated, delightfully humble.
Kapil Dev seemed to have the time and we got into a discussion about how he would even today stand up respectfully in the presence of his seniors and about how such traditions are handed down in the dressing room. I have seen Mohammed Azharuddin rise from his seat and stay on his feet until Sunil Gavaskar who arrived later sat down.
“Bishan-paaji will always be Bishan-paaji for me… never Bishan,” Kapil Dev said of his first captain Bishan Singh Bedi. “I cannot think of any other way. We have been taught the importance of respecting our seniors, even if we have some differences of opinion once in a while. Read more »