Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Shital Pradhan...the cricketer

I believe i am not sounding erratic with such headlines "Shital Pradhan....the cricketer", but this is one part of my life that made sacrifice to what i am today. A cricket loss was a history's gain. I used to believe i was born to play cricket, all that i did for most of my initial years was eat cricket, play cricket, think cricket and sleep cricket. Until one fine morning i realised that it was not my inner satisfaction that i need to fulfill but i am born to do things that no one dare to flip over and that was.....to shake up our past from the wheel of clock. Thus my unknown journey towards unwinding Sikkim history began.

But today i want to speak more of cricket, that was my first love. Cricket started with me in mid 80s when Sunil Gavaskar was at his peak but i admired the slow left arm bowler Maninder Singh, the most than. I still remember little Sachin with his unusual small white helmet facing the forces of Imran, Wasim and Waqar in his first series at Pakintan.  Still fresh in my memory is the double wicket Pepsi Cup during that particular series where he partnered with Kapil Dev and destroyed Abdul Qadir's line and length. Sachin celebrates twenty years in cricket and i am surprised how the time period went by.

Being from Singtam was not at all a happy moment for budding players like me those days. We were still at our schools and we were denied playing for senior team. It was in 94-95 when the Singtam Cricket Team scored a mere 36 runs in their first outing at Thirani Cup, that defeat gave us a chance to replace those "chattissay". Singtam Cricket Team was chasing 194 against the Development Area in that particular match where they were bundled out for mere 36 runs that included eight players from Singtam getting a duck. The highest score from them was an extra. That match might even find place in the record books.

From 94-95 till 2004 i was a regular player in Singtam senior team, i had many memories out at Mining, Gangtok and  how can i forget the hat trick i took in Pirahanas Cup at Kalimpong and i was left out for the next match. I was a right arm off-spinner and right handed batsman. Those day Nigel Cashmore  from Gangtok was a  big name to us, a fast bowler who could uproot any good batsman's stump. Ramji was the another bowler from Mining that we thought he was in our side. I still remember playing a tournament  match at Pangthang when all of a sudden fog came in and surrounded the ground. The scene was such that even the two batsmen was not visible to one another.

Between 1996-98 i was at Chujachen SSS and played for Rongli team. Playing for Rongli, i always regard loosing at the semi final at a tournament in Pedong in 1997 the most depressing moment, the team we than had was well balanced. In the quarterfinal i scored my career best 51 with five 4s and three sixs. My bowling pair with Saroj was simply an awesome combination. He had an excellent command over his leg spin and i used to turn around from the other side. We were a force and opponent used to respect. When i talk of my best bowling figure, it was with Rhenock Team and my figure after the end of the match was four overs, three maiden one runs and four wicket. At the same match Saroj took four and others was shared by other bowlers.

Off the few trophies and certificates i received for cricket, i am sharing one of them in the above photographs.I   can say....these days i am not into cricket since i shifted my focus on more important things of my life. I do not regret that i left cricket for Sikkim history but in a corner i do still have the feel that i could have represented my state.