Have you ever dreamed of sharing a dug-out with Virender Sehwag,or picking Sachin Tendulkars brain on the game of cricket? Almost every cricket fan in India has,but very few have actually made this dream turn into a reality. While some have done so with a knack of playing the game with a certain amount of talent and becoming their team-mates in the IPL,two boys from the capital have taken the route less travelled,a route that required almost no prowess on the cricket field. Ashish Manchanda and Kartik Sansanwal,a writer and a photographer respectively,have managed to impress not just their favourite cricketers.
With the job of becoming the sides official bloggers on the line,Manchanda breezed through the premilinary round,where thousands of youngsters from around the country had applied for the distinction. Then,after the field was pruned to four finalists,judges Sehwag,coach Eric Simons and bowling coach TA Sekhar chose the 22-year old as the best blogger amongst the lot. Ever since,the lad has been seen rubbing shoulders with the whos who of international cricket,from the team hotel to various grounds around India.
It was fun chatting with Sehwag,Simons and Sekar,as they tested whether I could be the teams official blogger, says Manchanda,talking to the Sportline on Monday. Cricket has always been my liking and writing is something that I have enjoyed as a student. But this opportunity has empowered me to relish both my talents at the same time. And then,on Sunday,as the Delhi Daredevils practiced at the Wankhede Stadium,blogger Manchanda was greeted by Mumbais most famous cricketing son. As I spoke to Sachin for the first time yesterday,I felt that I had achieved everything in my life, he says,only half joking.
So what does his daily schedule consist of? Updating the blog,according to Manchanda,is only the tip of the iceberg with regard to work. For all day long,Manchanda and photographer Sansanwal spend their time meeting players in the team hotel,and learning little known facts about the most famous cricketers in the world. The best part about this job are the stories these players share. Did you know Umesh Yadav wanted to be a policeman? He also wears three tattoos,one of them as a tribute to his late mother, he says,exicted. Pietersen,on the other hand,has as many as five permanent ink marks,which include the ECB logo,his wifes name and figures from his Ashes victories.
Like Manchanda,Sansanwal enjoys clicking pictures of players in different moods and settings. While his emphasis is on portraits,the 25-year old camera wielder doesnt really want to categorise his pictures into a certain genre. Sifting through his Daredevils portfolio,Sansanwal has captured the players in all moods glum,happy,exicted,bored,pumped up and relaxed. His favourite one,however,is the one of Irfan Pathan padding up before the first IPL game in Delhi.
It was the picture that got me the job. It was appreciated well by the players,and I hope to better it during this time of chasing the players from city to city in this tournament, he says. Then,with a pause,he adds: After all,I do have access to what most people my age could only dream of.