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HindustanTimes Fri,18 Apr 2014

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Cricket comes before livelihood
Somshuvra Laha, Hindustan Times
Kolkata, December 06, 2012
First Published: 23:35 IST(6/12/2012)
Last Updated: 23:45 IST(6/12/2012)

Lakshman Pandiya is a shy 23-year-old who is more comfortable talking about idly mixes than the right length to bowl. Vending dosas in the maidan and the dingy bylanes of the Khidderpore port is a livelihood he can't afford to miss.

Three-hour dream
But Thursday morning, he gave up his trade and possibly a meal, to live a three-hour dream by bowling to two English Test batsmen.

While Alastair Cook and Nick Compton were busy snuffing out India's bowling at the Eden, England's Twenty20 players decided to have a knock at the prestigious Calcutta Cricket and Football Club.

Lakshman, who also plays club cricket during the winter, was one of the net bowlers.

"I was called up last night and told I might have to bowl to a few English batsmen today. It also meant that I would have to do without selling dosas in the morning. But I took my chances," said Lakshman, who lives with his mother.

"My mother heard the discussion I was having on phone and was not pleased. We even had a fight and ultimately I went off to sleep without eating," said the tall, sinewy medium-pacer.

That however didn't prevent him from bowling with full vigour at Eoin Morgan and Jonathan Bairstow.

"Sometimes I don't even get a chance to bowl at nets in the clubs here. This was a great opportunity," he said. 

"I tried to have a chat with them after nets, especially Morgan since he plays for Kolkata Knight Riders, but didn't understand much. Only maybe a few words here and there - outswing, seam position etc. But it's ok. I'm happy," said Lakshman.

"I know I have to get back to selling dosas tomorrow again. And for missing my morning sales, I also know my family might have to do without dinner tonight," he said. "But that is a fact I'm ready to deal with."


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