Months after being recruited by Deccan Chargers as an Indian origin player who wears the colours of Kenya in international cricket, Tanmay Mishra is still amused by his struggle of identity within the team.
"There's Amit Mishra and a Tanmay Srivastava in my team. So even when the coach calls out 'Tanmay' or 'Mishra' from his list, I won't be able to know whether it's actually me who will be in the team," joked Tanmay Mishra ahead of the Chargers' first IPL 5 match against Chennai Super Kings here.
"I don't mind actually. It's a great honour to be a part of the IPL, especially for a player from a country that hasn't been doing well in international cricket right now," said the 25-year-old batsman.
Eyebrows were raised when Mishra was picked by Chargers as an Indian origin player, despite turning out for Kenya regularly. He explains, "I hold an Indian passport, so I'm eligible to play as an Indian. On the other hand, since I have played my junior cricket for Kenya, I can play for their national team as well," said Mishra, who was born in Mumbai but shifted as a boy to Kenya, where his father has business interests.
"Not many know I play first division cricket in Mumbai, for a club called Payyade SC," said Mishra, who is also on the verge of completing a business degree course from a Mumbai college.
"I was extremely fond of football. But one day my father said 'beta, cricket bhi khel liya karo kabhi kabhi' (keep playing cricket also once in a while)," said the Manchester United fan.
Mishra had made an instant mark in the World Cup last year with a strokeful 72 against Australia in Bangalore. "Maybe I wouldn't have been here had it not been for that knock," said the two-time World Cup player.
So, why didn't he apply a Kenyan passport? "I never needed it. The Kenya cricket administration was more than happy to let me play since I have been part of their domestic structure for so long. At the same time, I never really wanted to give up my citizenship since my parents and brother live in Mumbai," said Mishra.
"At one point, I even decided to quit cricket and join the family business, so I could not have given up my Indian citizenship. All that has changed now thanks to the IPL."