To kick things off I would like to share a little snippet of my time in the Indian Premier League with the Delhi Daredevils Franchise. The Company that owned the Franchise are called GMR. In brief, GMR own eight power plants, six airports, all the major roads in Dehli and a small cow farm in Chenai. I was surprised at the level of humility shown by all the board and their staff members. But most importantly, the owner himself. A truly remarkable man, who would have done anything in his power to make sure that the support staff and players were comfortable throughout the duration of the Tournament. We were treated like family, and that’s how it remained for the entirety of the stay.
My first few days in Delhi were a real eye opener. I saw some things that lingered in my mind for some time. The poverty is like nothing I have experienced. Young boys and girls begging in the street for pretty much anything they can get their hands on. Some danced or performed cart wheels. Others simply held out their hand and pleaded with their eyes.
On a positive note, I was fortunate enough to share the dressing room with some of the greatest players in world cricket. Captain of the team Virender Sehwag, the greatest finger spinner possibly of all time Dan Vettori and the biggest of them all…Glenn McGrath. Learning from Glenn is easy – Just watch. No need for questions, don’t bother listening for the sound of his feet slamming into the hard turf; he floats into the wicket. Watch and learn how it’s done. He is the master. But he is also the master of being a knock about guy who enjoys a laugh, a beer and a bad shirt.
Unfortunately I was only selected for two games. The first being the Tournament opener against the eventual champions Rajasthan and the second against a rampaging Mumbai Indians. Both teams were star studded. But is there any bigger star than Sachin Tendulkar? The little master took a liking to the gentle outswingers I produced on the night clipping me with ease for a couple of boundaries. When he finally smashed a single out to deep cover point, Sanath Jayasuria took strike. Oh dear, oh dear oh dear oh dear. I could actually see Sanath licking his lips as I got to the top of my mark. Salivating at the thought of smacking the fat Tasmanian to all parts of the ground. And that is exactly what he did, peppering three fours and a six off one over. Yuk. It was definitely an experience I will remember forever. My own home crowd yelling and screaming for me to cop some more punishment!! Thanks Delhi fans.
Don’t worry about bowling to Sachin or Sanath as far as battles go. There is nothing like the battle of getting past the Language barrier. Because Australians generally speak very fast, the Indian people who did speak English had no idea what we were saying. Early on in the stay I ordered some Spaghetti Bolognese from the room service menu. When I heard the knock on the door and the words any food loving fatty likes hearing “room service”, I rushed off the bed and answered the door. Only to find that the lady who took my order thought I had asked for a packet of pens (blue) and two packets of matches!! What?? This brought plenty of laughs from the rest of the team. It wasn’t all bad though. I ended up eating the two mini boxes of Pringles in the cupboard. A win for any chip lover!!
I am proud to say that when I arrived home after two months away I shed a small tear. For a number of reasons; It was horribly cold, I stubbed my toe on the corner of my plane seat and it was just super to be home. I’m not sure if all Tasmanian people feel this when they arrive home after a lengthy stay away. But I cried like a child lost at the Royal Hobart Show. Home is grand.
Since rejoining the squad in early June I have noticed a considerable difference in the way the Tassie Squad is preparing for the up and coming First-Class season. This is the first time we have had the majority of the squad available for the whole winter. In the past we have had players involved in the English County Season, players in Holland who we think were playing cricket, players at the Centre of Excellence and a number players on the injured list. This year feels different. No one on the sidelines nursing injuries, no one at the COE and only Brendan Drew away playing English cricket. But we don’t need to worry about Brendan, you don’t get the nickname “Super Dooper Athlete” without a huge work ethic. He will come back from his stint raring to go.
We have 24 players and an entire organisation heading in the same direction, and it feels great!
- courtesy of the TCA