Not that Ranadeb Bose’s world has changed completely after being picked for the matches in Ireland and England but the Bengal medium-pacer has been forced to keep his cell phone on silent mode since. It just refuses to stop ringing.
The assistant manager of corporate communications at Sahara looks unfamiliar in formals, sitting in the office he joined in March. The long locks combed back into a ponytail, he offers a shy smile and looks awkward when colleagues remind him that they will be glued to the television come July with some even demanding a wicket with the first ball.
“It’s odd at times but I know all this will stop the moment I stop doing well,” said Bose, who will be leaving for Ireland in the early hours of Tuesday. He and Ishant Sharma are flying into Belfast as emergency backup.
Excerpts from an interview with HT.
Sometime in 2002 when you were not even a regular in the Bengal XI, you said you would toil for four to five years more for the India cap. What made you feel you could go for it?
Some of my contemporaries from other states were on the fringe of India selection then and I felt I could do better than them. I wasn’t doing well because I wasn’t serious. I had just completed graduation and studies were taking up most of my time.
Some of my honest critics felt that I was good enough to do well in first-class cricket provided I worked hard.
I knew I had a base ready to do a management course if cricket didn’t click and decided to give it a go in all seriousness. My work ethic changed and so did the thought process. I started thinking like a professional. I believed I could succeed and things fell in place.
I became a regular in the Bengal team, got a job, the pay for first-class players increased. All that gave me the impetus to keep going.
Do you think you get what you want if you work towards that with 100 per cent dedication?
I have seen people work equally hard and not make it but in my life so far, hard work has always paid off. I used to skip running when it rained, avoid going to gym when I didn’t feel like. All that stopped and the results started coming gradually.
I had a group of friends where none talked cricket and that helped too. I still couldn’t do what these guys would. There was no beefsteak or drinks for me when we visited our favourite pub, no biryani or ice creams. No Durga Pujo, Kali Pujo either.
The nights out stopped as I became conscious about sleeping in the comfort of my quilt and mosquito net. Friends wouldn’t mind skipping office with fever for a few days but for me to miss a day of training or playing was impossible. These were probably the sacrifices I made.
You keep saying Paras Mhambrey did you a lot of good. What difference did he make?
People keep talking about swing, length and all that but Paras taught me the line to bowl. It depends on whether the ball is new or old, whether the batsman is set or new, whether there is swing or not. It’s not like sticking to one line forever.
I would have played for India five years earlier had he been the Bengal coach at that time. I matured under him, became consistent, learnt how to prepare and train in order to execute a plan successfully.
Some say you are not fast enough. What do you say about it?
Of all the fast bowlers in the world, just a handful are express. The rest are all in the 130 kmph to 130-plus range and whenever I have played with speed guns around, I have seen that my pace is also around that mark. If I can swing it at that pace, it could be useful.
And bowlers who did well in England recently, like Ryan Sidebottom and Matthew Hoggard, can hardly be called quicks. If I can swing it from the right area, I don’t think my pace would be a problem.
You have played in England in minor county leagues. What will it be like and what are your plans?
Having played there for five seasons, I have seen that it’s best for batting in July and August when the sun is usually at its brightest.
We may not need jumpers and may not see overcast conditions. I will speak to the seniors and, of course, Zaheer Khan, to figure out what exactly my role will be. I will try and set myself a realistic target after that. I am working hard at the gym to stay fit.
The gap between you being selected and the start of the series is fairly long. Wasn’t it good to get this break?
I was mentally and physically fatigued by bowling nonstop since December, playing club and office games, attending camps. I have taken a break from bowling after being selected and apart from getting the time to soak in the happiness, this break is also making me hungry again.
A few weeks back the thought of bowling was making me sick, but now, I am looking forward to it again. I also used the time to do some strength training. There is enough time to get the rhythm back. The best thing is I am prepared. It’s better to be prepared and not get a chance than get a chance without being prepared.
There is excessive attention on cricket and people like you and Manoj Tiwary are well known even before playing a ball in international cricket. Does this help?
I like to see my picture in newspapers or myself on TV. There is no doubt everyone likes that and one of the reasons I play cricket is that I want to be known.
But I am mature enough to know that no one will look at me if I don’t do well. I enjoy it without letting it get to my head. I have seen the other side too.