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Son of a cabbie becomes the story of Eden

Hashim Amla scored another Test hundred,Zaheer Khan and Harbhajan Singh triggered the Indian fight back. But on Sunday,Eden Gardens belonged to Alviro Petersen. Son of a taxi driver,Petersen was not an automatic choice to make the playing XI — the 29-year old got his chance only after Mark Boucher missed the second Test due to […]

Written by Shamik Chakrabarty | Kolkata |
February 15, 2010 12:30:48 am

Hashim Amla scored another Test hundred,Zaheer Khan and Harbhajan Singh triggered the Indian fight back. But on Sunday,Eden Gardens belonged to Alviro Petersen.

Son of a taxi driver,Petersen was not an automatic choice to make the playing XI — the 29-year old got his chance only after Mark Boucher missed the second Test due to a back spasm. The late entry,however,didn’t give him any jitters.

“Alviro’s father Issac is a taxi driver in Port Elizabeth and loves his cricket. Ask him to take you to the cricket stadiums and his eyes will light up. I think he will be the happiest man today,” South Africa ‘s media manager Michael Owen-Smith told The Indian Express . Petersen was also enjoying every bit of his success. “It’s a special feeling to score a hundred on debut at this fantastic venue. I’m over the moon. It’s a great honour to play for South Africa and contributing for the team,” he said.

Time to prepare

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He got enough hints from the team management on Saturday night to prepare himself for the big occasion. “I got a full evening to prepare. And then,when I went out to bat I got a couple of boundary balls upfront which helped me get into the groove. I had a feeling they (Indian bowlers) were trying to come hard at a debutant,” said the opener.

An introvert,Alviro,however,was reluctant to single out anybody for his dream debut. Owen-Smith explains: “He is a very religious man. He thanks the Almighty for all his successes so far. His wife has a big influence on him. As far as his cricket is concerned,he has gone to many coaches to seek advice.”

Having grown up playing cricket,football and rugby in bare feet at Gelvandale,a township in Port Elizabeth ,Petersen’s early career took shape in school. The school cricket ground was rough and corrugated iron sheets were used for sightscreens. But it was the place where Alviro,along with Ashwell Prince learnt the basics of the game.

On the opening day of the Test,the newcomer reigned supreme with Amla for more than three hours,putting on 209 runs for the second wicket. While his partner got a reprieve on his way to 114,Petersen’s innings was chanceless,on a wicket which,in his own words,“wasn’t a normal Indian wicket and not easy for batting”.

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He,however,rues his momentary lapse of concentration after reaching the three-figure mark. A dramatic collapse followed and India came back into the Test match.

Still,Alviro Petersen was the story of the day.

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First published on: 15-02-2010 at 12:30:48 am

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