Every now and then, he folds his hands and sings ‘Hare Rama, Hare Krishna’ and then pauses before muttering ‘swaha’.
At the Queen Sports Club, even as his contemporaries share the commentary box, Bryan Strang has set up ‘house’ at the far corner of the ground.
Sitting on a carpet, pointing to a robe next to him, Strang says, “A sadhu in India gave these to me, but I can’t wear it here. I have to hide it.”
The former Zimbabwe left-arm seamer is a different man from his playing days. The 41-year-old was a maverick in his playing days, with alcohol-related problems and clashes with authorities reducing his playing years significantly.
He hit rock bottom in 2001 when his playing career came to an end. He tried his luck in county cricket but failed and then his girlfriend left him, before he was forced to make a living in England, working as a chainman on the road.
“When I was a kid, I always wanted to be a monk in the Himalayas. That was before cricket came into my life. Then I got caught up with alcohol, because of which I did lot of stupid things. I was going through tough times. I felt so low that only God could help me,” says Strang.
Life changed in 2008 when a man walked up to him and said, “I will pray for you.” Since then, Strang has been soul searching and has found happiness through spirituality.
In 2009, Strang met Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, who changed his life. Strang has just returned from a two-month spiritual trip to India. “It was the most fulfilling experience of my life. I spent time with sadhus and travelled to Bodh Gaya, Hrishikesh, Bangalore, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Goa. It has made me happier and calmer,” said Strang.