March 17, 2009 1:05:10 am
Paras Dogra is realistic enough to know that he may never get an India cap. But after signing up with the Rajasthan Royals for this years Indian Premier League,the Delhi-based Himachal Pradesh batsman is glad that his game has finally been recognised.
Dogra was signed up by the Royals team management three months ago after impressing their think-tank with his sublime strokeplay during a tournament in Jaipur. He considers it as reward for his consistent showing on the domestic circuit. The IPL opportunity will be great for a player like me. IPL has scripted quite a few success stories and I too harbour making it to the top, he said.
It hasnt been easy for Dogra. Despite being part of the Delhi schools team and elder brother Hemant being a part of the Delhi Ranji one-dayers squad,Paras moved to HP at the under-19 level,realising he had no future in Delhi.
The 24-year old lost his father last week to liver failure and is yet to come to terms with the loss.
Losing my father my guide,mentor and is the biggest shock of my life. I dont know if I would ever be able to recover from the loss. My father wanted me to play well in the IPL and I will be working hard to keep his wish alive, he said,trying to veer the talk away from his grief and back towards life and cricket.
A regular at Sanjay Bhardwajs academy,Dogra still plays for Food Corporation of India (FCI). He has always been an aggressive batsman. I know him since 1996 when I took over the Delhi schools team. He is a very sincere and hard working cricketer and always does what he is told, Bharadwaj said.
Dogra,who has often been the lynchpin of Himachal batting,had to miss the quarter-final match against Uttar Pradesh in the Vijay Hazare Trophy because of his fathers illness,severely denting his teams chances.
Worse,he was excluded from the North Zone squad for the Deodhar Trophy despite being the second highest scorer for HP in the Ranji one-dayers.
Despite all the disappointments,though,the one thing that Dogra vividly remembers is his last conversation with his father a few days before the tragedy,discussing the jersey number he should wear in the IPL. It has to be No. 9 he said, Dogra remembers. He insists he would ask the team management for No 9 on his jersey as a means to fulfill his fathers last wish.
I am banking on IPL and want to make my fathers ultimate dream come true wearing the Team India jersey. There,too,my number will be nine, he asserts,confident of making a mark even in these uncertain times for the IPL.
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