Thursday, November 10, 2005

Chhote Chhote Shehron Se....

...Khali Bore Dopaharon Se Hum To Balla Utha Ker Chale...

Well the that's the song youngsters of this Indian Cricket team seem to be humming on. Just one look at the current composition, and it becomes clear that talent is not just confined to metros now. They have been rushing in hordes from small and even smaller towns.

In fact, there had always been the talent in small cities, but there was not enough encouragement from the parents to take it as career. Before Reliance Cup in 1987, Cricket was never seen as a career option. There was not enough money. It was just a attractive sport which would waste your whole day.

How often would we hear this familiar slogan - Padhoge Likhoge To Hogey Nawab, Kheloge Koodogey To Hogey Kharab from our guiding angels?

There was this athletic, strongly built boy - Amit Goel, in my class. We had stopped allowing him to play with us because we had lost just too many - then precious - leather balls to the orbit courtesy him. I won't call them fractures, but it was as closest I went to fractures while facing his bowling. Innumerous accounts of blue, bruised, swollen knees and elbows could be heard.

What more, he was a left arm tremendous bat, and a left arm express pace bowler - a rarest of rarity in those times. Later, he started playing at club levels, and urban legend was that he could actually swing the ball. Felt pity that likes of Chetan Sharma are in the team, whom Kapil Dev could never teach how to swing.

But the only problem was that he was super rich. Family had a well established business, and parents wouldn't allow him play any further. So we lost a perfect all rounder to a vegetable oil business.

Then there was this complete different scenario. There was this a Muslim milkman's family, from whom we use to take our milk. His son was about my age, and we have played some child hood Cricket. This guy was exceptional. Brilliant batsman, brilliant fast bowler- action clearly modeled on Imran Khan, and terrific fielder.

I thought that he can play Cricket at higher levels owing to his talent. But then money and illiteracy was the problem. He dropped out from school and game started helping his father in his profession. Now, I have heard he drives a Taxi.

So two potential all rounders lost to lack of proper encouragement and guidance. Of course, Reliance Cup and advent of Sachin Tendulkar changed the whole scene dramatically. A generation also changed, and those guys who themselves could not get enough encouragement are encouraging their children.

Heartening to see these Dhonis, Kaifs, Yuvrajs, Sehwags, Rainas, RPs emerging out of no where, and rubbing sholuders with their big city colleagues. Augurs well for the future.

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