Rajasthan,a country for old men

In Rajasthan,Ramesh Powar is sure to feel at home,and certainly not out of place.

Written by Bharat Sundaresan | Published:August 15, 2013 1:52 am

Ramesh Powar’s shrinking waistline and the 15 kilos he has shed over the last few months should have made headlines after he bid farewell to Mumbai cricket. Instead the talking point has been his admission that he no longer felt welcome in a dressing room he inhabited for 13 years. It wasn’t surprising to hear that Powar was disillusioned by the generation gap and the brash new era of Mumbai cricket,led by the likes of Rohit Sharma. Also read: Robin Bist- Once injured,twice shy

The veteran off-spinner’s next destination isn’t a surprise either. In Rajasthan,he is sure to feel at home,and certainly not out of place. For starters,he’ll have company from his own generation in fellow professional Hrishikesh Kanitkar,who suggested the move in the first place. Not to forget the prolific Rashmi Ranjan Parida.

Jaipur has become a haven for ageing domestic stars looking to add some lustre to the latter half of their careers. For some,it’s even provided a second coming. Kanitkar shifted base when he felt stagnant in Maharashtra. Parida and Aakash Chopra made ‘professional’ moves here at similar stages of their careers. Ajay Jadeja too hung up his boots after a spell in Rajasthan.

Rajasthan may have won back-to-back Ranji Trophy titles with a core of professionals,but the Rajasthan Cricket Association has drawn flak from certain quarters for this approach. Some have called the RCA an old boys club focused merely on Ranji glory while turning a blind eye to the development of local talent.

But the emergence of the the likes of former U-19 skipper Ashok Menaria,Robin Bist,and latest India A pick Aniket Choudhury belie those claims. If anything,the youngsters have only flourished in the presence of seasoned professionals.

In contrast,Maharashtra’s philosophy of throwing local talent into the deep end and hoping that they learn to swim has continued to backfire. They’ve remained marooned to the bottom of the league,while producing nobody who’s caught the selectors’ attention.

And with Rajasthan struggling with a dearth of spinners,Powar will be back to being the leading tweaker for his state team. It’s an ego-boost he can surely do with,and one that Rajasthan has a tradition of providing to those like him.

(Bharat is a principal correspondent based in Mumbai.)

bharat.sundaresan@expressindia.com

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