Updated: February 18, 2014 1:52:09 pm
Being the son of a restaurant manager at Khushi’s in Edinburgh, Chayank Gosain is used to requests from his teammates for the occasional Indian curry take-aways. On-the-house. His answer is always ‘No’. But still, much to his chagrin, the requests never stop. Not surprising, considering how popular the curries on Antigua Street are among the locals.
“I just ask them to go get a life. It’s too much a hassle,” he says.
For a brief yet manic half-hour at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium (DICS), however, it looked like Gosain would be in line to buy dinner for the entire Scotland U-19 team on Monday night. That too, without any reservations. The 18-year-old left-arm spinner had after all held his Indian opponents captive during that time.
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The defending world champions had come out chasing a paltry sum of 89. But within the space of 24 deliveries, their top-order had been spun out by Gosain. Opening the bowling, like he has done for the last 10 matches in Scotland colours, the lanky tweaker had sent back Akhil Herwadkar, captain Vijay Zol and Ankush Bains with the total on just 19. Beanpole pacer Gavin Main then added to their woes, reducing the Indians to 22/5 and leaving them staring at a potentially humiliating upset. And ironically, it was a Delhi-born expat teen who looked set to pull the rug from under the Indian feet.
Eventually, though, Sarfaraz Khan and Deepak Hooda did save India the blushes. But not before Gosain had finished with impressive figures of 3/31 in his 10-over spell.
“It was like a daze. The total was not huge. But Ross (McLean) asked me to stick to my strengths. I naturally do not flight the ball much and focus on holding good lines and lengths. I did just that, and the wickets just happened,” Gosain said, speaking to this paper.
Though he sounds quintessentially Scottish now, Gosain, or Cheeky as he’s fondly known in the Scotland dressing-room, only moved to Edinburgh when he was nine, when father Madan got the managerial job at the eatery. He had already started playing cricket by then, although he was then a left-arm seamer.
“My mother (Surabhi) and I moved over only a year later. It took me some time to get used to the totally different lifestyle but within a month my dad enrolled me in a club and I started playing as a spinner,” recalls Gosain, who took no time in making it to the junior hall-of-fame of the Carlton Club. The half Punjabi-half Gujarati teen though is quick to admit that the shift from pace to spin had nothing to do with the stereotype of Indian-origin cricketers representing other countries. But more to do with the physical challenges of fast bowling.
While nobody in his family before him played sport at a competitive level, Gosain reveals that his parents have over time accepted the fact that their son is representing Scotland and not his land of birth. While Cheeky was the star with the ball when Scotland won their opening encounter against Papua New Guinea two days ago with figures of 3/17, he had his parents cheering him on vociferously from the stands.
“They were there today as well and cheering as loudly. But the Indian boys supporting their team were just too much for them and dwarfed their voices,” adds Gosain. Despite his background, Gosain is very much the typical Scottish youth, preferring to spend time with his friends, when not at school, exploring teen hang-outs around Edinburgh. He also insists on having been to Khushi’s only once in the last few years. While he has made three visits to India since his family shifted base, he hasn”t retained any significant Indian influence in his life. Except of course his knowledge of Hindi, which he speaks at home.
Though he didn’t get involved in any banter with his Indian opponents at DICS while the watch was on, Gosain does admit to have been tempted to break away from his clipped Scottish tone while the two teams were shaking hands at the end of it. “I wanted to tell them,” he says, “Mere khyaal se toh hume match jeetna chahiye tha.”
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