A top-order batsman and a tail-ender rarely engage in any meaningful partnership. Gautam Gambhir and Amit Mishra, however, have forged one, albeit off the ground, which they would continue to cherish long after they have hung up their boots.
The left-handed batsman and the leg-spinner have come together to form and support an NGO, ‘Chance to Play’, which is lending a helping hand to deprived but talented cricketers.
“Coming from a not-so-affluent background, I know how tough it is to move forward in the cutthroat world of cricket. Gautam knows how it feels not to get a chance even after putting in consistent performance. So, we decided to chip in with as much help as possible to help a few deserving children to play their cricket without having to worry about anything else,” said Mishra.
The NGO, based in the Bharat Nagar township of the capital, currently houses 15 youngsters in the 14-19 age-group and takes care of their accommodation, food, equipment and training. “Gambhir and Mishra were anyway helping these children for sometime. But we decided to formalise it and both agreed gladly to come on board,” said Sanjay Bharadwaj, the coach at ‘Chance to Play’.
“When Gambhir saw me bowl, he told Sir (Bharadwaj) that I was good. I had some faith in my abilities, but to hear it from our top batsman was something special. I am working doubly hard not to let him down,” said 17-year-old Mohammad Azharrudin, who hails from a remote village near Alwar in Rajasthan. Others, too, were quick to second the sentiment.