An IPL contract with Rajasthan Royals,a trip to South Africa and now rave reviews from Shane Warne at 18,success seems to have come early to Kamran Khan. Or has it?
If only the young pacer had got Rs12 lakh,the amount he stands to earn from the contract,two years back,he couldve perhaps saved his mother,who succumbed to illness after not getting the required treatment.
Naturally,there were mixed feelings after he claimed his first big scalp,removing Cape Cobras skipper Justin Ontong in a practice match in Cape Town on Saturday. In the process,he bowled over Warne. Kamran Khan is a young kid,a left-armer,a slinger. He is going to be very interesting. Theres a toss-up as to what his nickname could be Wild Thing or Tornado,something like that, the leg-spinner remarked.
The praise,and also the language,overwhelms the bowler. Hamein nahi pata who kya bolein. Bahut fast angrezi bolte hain (I dont understand what he says he speaks English so fast), says Kamran,speaking to The Indian Express from South Africa,the excitement unmistakable in his voice. Before long,though,the tone turns somber.
Im happy and sad too. Had this money come two years back,I might not have lost my mother, adds the lad from Mau in Uttar Pradesh who earlier lost his father. It meant that Kamran and his four siblings would be forced to lead a life of poverty.
At times,when he had to travel to attend trial camps,he used to sleep at railway stations,for he couldnt afford hotels. Be it Lucknow or Kanpur,I used to sleep at platforms. I used to buy a platform ticket and spend the night there, recalls Kamran.
Now,in a five-star hotel in South Africa,he is experiencing a different set of problems. Im not used to these comforts,having slept all these years on a rough floor. Neend hi nahi aayee pehli raat (I couldnt sleep on the first night), he laughs.
Often he used to bowl for hours on an empty stomach or a modest meal of tea and biscuits that would form his lunch and dinner.
I always had monetary problems. I never dared to ask money from my brothers. I had one pair of white clothes for trials, he says. It was at a talent-hunt in Kanpur that Kamran,wearing torn shoes,bowled at 134 kmph and impressed,among others,Ajay Jadeja,who was one of the guests at the event. He might have impressed the former India cricketer,but not the selectors at trials.
Even until few days ago,nobody knew me. I used to play at the Azad Maidan in Mumbai and just hoped to keep on doing the hard work. Id gone for trials to every part of UP but without success, he says.