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Fire in the belly keeps Price going high

As a newborn, Raymond Price was given a one in four chance of survival. Within months, he had lost his hearing due to meningitis and though it was restored by surgery, he struggled with co-ordination skills as a student. Abhijeet Kulkarni reports. Tight spot

cricket Updated: Mar 03, 2011 02:12 IST
Abhijeet Kulkarni

As a newborn, Raymond Price was given a one in four chance of survival. Within months, he had lost his hearing due to meningitis and though it was restored by surgery, he struggled with co-ordination skills as a student.

His cricketing career has also followed a similar path with the left-arm spinner getting branded as a dud in the limited-overs game and was then forced to flee the country in 2004 due to the turmoil in Zimbabwe cricket.

Just like his personal life, Price not only survived the uncertainties but also turned them into his strengths. “I guess it (the physical problems) made me more determined," says Price, who at 34 is playing his maiden World Cup.

He has been given the responsibility of sharing the new ball with Christopher Mpofu and has come out with flying colours. Price made life difficult for Aussie openers Shane Watson and Brad Haddin in their opening tie and scalped three wickets in his first spell against Canada to put Zimbabwe on the path to win.

Price, who has an economy rate of 3.86 in ODIs, admits bowling with the new ball was not easy but nothing in life has come easy for the Harare resident. With Zimbabwe cricket not in the pink of health, he used to double up as a refrigerator and air-conditioner installer. "It was really hard. I used to work from seven in the morning to seven in the evening and also play cricket," says the veteran cricketer, who has also been playing mentor to young spinners since his return to the national squad in 2007.

Looking back, Price says it also made him a better human being. "It is very important for young people to learn how difficult it is. A lot of people take it for granted that we play cricket and so we will have a good life. But I think, such things teach you a lot. More importantly, they make you humble," he adds.

That approach is visible in the way he goes around interacting with the ground staff and even spectators during training.

“This is one of the perks of playing cricket. You get to come and play in India and Bangladesh and interact with people,” he says. Price still rues the three years wasted and the hunger to play international cricket also made him contemplate taking up British citizenship.

But once things began to look up in Zimbabwe, he dropped the plan.