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Hurt Anirudha makes a strong statement

cricket Updated: Oct 14, 2011 00:10 IST
Amol Karhadkar
Amol Karhadkar
Hindustan Times
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As Anirudha Srikkanth, who perhaps played the biggest knock of his career on Wednesday when he scored an 88-ball 111 for India Green against India Blue in the Challenger Series, sat across for an interview, he expectedly started off with, "Please don't ask me any questions about my father".

As if the baggage of being the son of a World Cup-winning opener was too much to carry on his young shoulders ever since he made his first-class debut as a 16-year-old, he was embroiled in a controversy in July when the national selection committee, led by his father K Srikkanth, picked him for the Emerging Players' Tournament that was played in Australia in August.

But after admitting that he "probably matured late" and stressing that he was "not just a limited overs specialist", the 24-year-old Chennai batsman opened up and spoke about the "pros and cons of having Srikkanth as your father".

"Three months back, you guys would have seen it actually," Anirudha, the "superstitious and god-fearing" person, says. "At the end of the day, you have to go out there and play. He is a massive help when you come back home, on the mental side of the game. He is very friendly, he talks to me. He knows cricket, so he knows what a cricketer can go through. He knows what the expectations will be from my family, me and people around me.

"Probably the expectations are always going to be higher being his son but I have to cope with that. I have to live with it all my life."

But doesn't it hurt when people question his credentials and point fingers at the influence his father could have had on his selection? "Oh yes, it hurts. Three months back, it hurt a lot," he says, his voice cracking a bit.

But he appears to have learnt to cope with it. "To be very honest, at one point I was so adamant I used to constantly think 'I want to make it big, I want to it big'. But now I have realised that the bottom line is you live your life once. And if you don't enjoy it, there's no point living. Every day if you take pressure, then there's no point in it," he says.

Fiancée's support
It is not just his father who has helped him handle the pressure. "My fiancée has helped me a lot. (After Tuesday's game) I was sitting in my room and I was again feeling bad that I missed out on another opportunity. I was talking on the phone and she told me, 'Why are you bothered so much? Why don't you go out there and enjoy yourself? Whatever you do, at the end of the day, they are only going to write what they want.

"It doesn't matter whether you score this much or this much. But do it with happiness, not for happiness.'

"And that's made a big difference. When you do things with happiness, you are enjoying yourself but you are not expecting anything. When you do things for happiness, you are expecting a lot."