Job half done : Kumar Kartikeya’s homecoming

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Bipin Dani

Shyam Nath Singh, the Head Constable working in the police department in a historic city of Jhansi in Uttar Pradesh has taken a few-days leave. The reason : to meet his cricket-mad son after a gap of 9 years and three months.

Kumar Kartikeya had left home over nine years ago and had vowed to return home only after achieving something in life. The Madhya Pradesh and Mumbai Indians spinner returned home and met his parents on Wednesday.

“I don’t say his work is finished. He has just climbed the first step of the ladder. Hope he plays for India”, the father, speaking exclusively over the telephone, said.

The 24-year-old returned from England, where his Mumbai Indians uncapped players had 3 three-week training sessions. He practised there with Team India captain Rohit Sharma, who is also the captain of the Mumbai Indians IPL team.

“Kartikeya’s mother (Sunita Devi) is also very happy. He used to call us almost every day and parents would obviously be very happy to see their son after such a long period”, the father said.

“Kumar Kartikeya had left home on April 1, 2013. During this exiled period he must have worked very hard”.

He made his first-class debut in 2018 as a traditional left-arm spinner, but when hired by the Mumbai Indians team midway through IPL this season he switched to bowling left-arm wrist spin with a few variations. Kartikeya’s confidence and skill gradually increased.

It was his childhood coach Sanjay Bhardwaj who impressed upon Kartikeya the need to be different to stand out. That made him from left-arm orthodox to left-arm everything, especially in T20, the shortest format of the game.

“The name Kartikeya was given by my elder brother, who is also a head constable. Kartikeya was also Lord Shiva’s son and he also stayed far from his father and therefore I am not surprised with my son”, the father says.

“People in our village are very eager to meet my son. From there, we will move to Kumar’s paternal uncle”, the father added.

After spending a week or so in their village Kuwasi (district Sultanpur), Kartikeya will be busy preparing for the Duleep Trophy and Irani Trophy matches. “His cricket journey will resume again. I want my two sons to play for India and that is our dream”, the father further added.

Kartika’s younger brother Binayak also plays cricket. He has represented the UP team at U-14 and U-16.

 

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