Sporting events or sportsmen figuring in a country's postage stamp isn't uncommon. Even India has its own examples, ranging from cricket to kabaddi, from Gostho Pal to Sunil Gavaskar.
But a former India cricketer on a postage stamp of Bhutan? Roger Binny, the man himself, was stumped after discovering this on Thursday. He's there, smiling among a group of children in the country where he spent four years as Development Officer of the Asian Cricket Council.
It's one of the four stamps based on cricket which Bhutan Post has released in commemoration of a century of monarchy. They are priced at 5 ngultrum (Rs 5) each and the other three show the Bhutan players with the coach, a batsman in action and a cricket ground in Thimpu.
“I never knew something like that was there. It's a great honour. I have cherished the four years (2004 to 2008) I had been there. This just vindicates my feelings,” Binny said.
“I had replaced Rumesh Ratnayeke as the ACC Development Officer there. And I must say, the thing I liked there was the enthusiasm. Bhutan’s women’s team was pretty decent. We generally worked with schoolchildren and age-group teams and they had shown a lot of improvement," said Binny, now the coach of Bengal.
On Thursday, soon after a series of trial matches featuring the Bengal probables got over, a man walked up to Binny. He was posted in Bhutan before being transferred to Kolkata and had come to Eden Gardens to show Binny the stamps.
Binny was quick to recognise the picture in the stamp — from a photograph clicked at a school in Gelephu, a town on the Indo-Bhutan border. It was learnt that following the initiative of a leading Kolkata-based philatelist, Kalyan Negal, Binny and cricket in Bhutan was featured in the set of stamps.