Yes, it has been a while since I connected with you all. Last month had been a bit busy at work and some other cricket related stuff in the league that I play in Arizona. The month had been interesting with IPL 4 regular season making its way through this period. Somehow, after the thrills and chills of fifty over WC 2011, this shorter format failed to energize the fan base as much. TV ratings of the viewership dropped considerably. Still the IPL 4 league stages provided all the excitement, amid the speculation of dilution due to expansion. It started with a last-ball thriller and ended with a last delivery nail-biter, both involving Kolkata Knight Riders, unfortunately at the receiving end on both the occasions. The first two play-offs games have been close contests as well and now we wait for the last two to find out the champion.
In the mean time, I had a personal experience with a legendary cricketer that I wish to share with you. As most of you might be aware, I also play in the Arizona Cricket League (a state level league involving 18 teams across 2 divisions) where each team battles out in 16 grueling 40-over games from October through April. My team: Cavaliers Blue Cricket Club, had the honors of being the runners up in our division, unfortunately missed the divisional championship by a single win. Our league conducted its annual awards ceremony on May 15, 2011 and the chief guest was the legendary West Indies Cricketer: Alvin Kallicharran. It was one of the most satisfying days of my life: after contributing towards team’s success (third best scorer of the team for the season and on the list of Top 20 for the division), I received an award from Alvin Kallicharran.
Apart from listening to his experience during his cricketing days, his feeling proud of being an Indian, and his views on the present state of world cricket, I also had the rare privilege of spending some one-on-one time with me. Alvin is a simple man, a dedicated cricketer, but most importantly an excellent public speaker. He had tremendous knowledge about various other topics, outside of cricket and sports in general, including Politics, World Economy, and Religion. He is a true all rounder in that sense. He was equally interested in talking about these other topics and not just cricket. In fact, when he came over to our home for dinner, he spent over three hours and hardly talked about the game.
It was a dream come true moment for cricket fan like me. I have met and interacted with a few cricketers in the past like: Abey Kuruvilla, Dilip Vengsarkar, & Gus Logie. However, never before had the privilege of spending two sessions with a legend, one-on-one, talking on various topics that the conversion would lead to. Alvin shared some lighter moments during his playing days (on and of the field) which were truly entertaining and showed the witty side of the talented fellow. Just like the timing of his shots, the timing of his witty comments was equally crisp. His observations in regards to the current state of the cricket and current state of world economy/politics were equally insightful.
Alvin comes across as a friendly individual who is willing to lend an innovative idea to you all the time. He is always focused on how he can contribute to improve things for you. He was really impressed with the structure and discipline of the Arizona Cricket League and shared some invaluable thoughts on how cricket can be made more exciting and attractive to the youngest generation of the United States. It was truly a memorable evening for me as I got to know not just Kallicharan: the dashing batsman, but also the Alvin: a nice and simple man.
-Nikhil Sharad Jadhav