October 24, 2007 1:43:15 am
He heads the global panel that just won the Nobel for raising the heat on global warming but over the years Dr R K Pachauri has quietly been making a mark in a different field, with a different team —Delhi’s corporate cricket league, as an all-rounder for TERI which he heads.
Pachauri has 345 wickets to his credit in the world of corporate cricket and at 67, he says, “In this crazy world, cricket gives me sanity.”
So strong is his love for cricket that his colleagues recall the time the Nobel winner took a break during a seminar in New York and flew in to Delhi over the weekend to attend a practice session for a match before flying back. Again, he flew in for a day, just to play that match.
Says Venkat Sundaram, former Delhi and North Zone batsman, who has been associated with Dr Pachauri’s office and his cricket team since 2000: “I find him to be remarkable in his commitment and enthusiasm for cricket. Hardly a weekend goes by in winter without him on the cricket field. Not just playing, he loves cricket and respects cricketers. I once suggested that TERI should develop a good cricket ground and today the TERI Oval in Gurgaon has come up with world-class facilities.”
Venkat reveals that Dr Pachauri is a huge fan of the late former India all-rounder Polly Umrigar. “Once I had asked Polly Kaka to visit our ground. Dr Pachauri told me that it is the finest day of his life that he’s got an opportunity to meet the great Umrigar. In fact, he left a business meeting that day to meet Umrigar. The late Dattu Phadkar (the popular all-rounder of the 1940s and 50s) has coached Dr Pachauri, and he still remembers him by conducting a tournament in his name. He even invited his daughter to come and give away the prizes. It’s a nice gesture, especially when no one in India remembers him these days,” he says.
The TERI Oval is a BCCI-certified first-class ground which has already hosted a memorable match – and the TERI cup, instituted by Dr Pachauri, is in its 15th edition this year.
Former Indian Test opener Chetan Chauhan vouches for Pachauri’s love for cricket. “Even at this age, he makes sure he stays through all the overs in a match. The cricket ground that he developed is amongst the best and he is very keen to stage matches. I have played a lot of matches there, against him also while playing for Parliamentarians.”
Pachauri dabbles in golf too but when asked by a colleague once about his preference, he replied: “I would rather run after the ball to chase, rather than walking up to it, and hitting it again.”
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