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HindustanTimes Fri,19 Dec 2014

Cricket Columns

Finally a win, but saddened by the demise of a colleague
Gautam Gambhi
October 23, 2012
First Published: 00:30 IST(23/10/2012)
Last Updated: 00:35 IST(23/10/2012)

If you go to my cricinfo profile page, you will find a small detail. It is under the 'batting' head and against my first-class record. My highest first-class score of 233 not out came against the Railways back in November 2002. That game at the Ferozshah Kotla was also played by Raja Ali. He was not a personal friend or anything, just a cricketing colleague. But today, when I got the news of his sudden demise, all my memories of our encounters came flooding back.

Raja bhai was a relatively quiet opponent who stuck to his task given by the then skipper, Abhay Sharma. He was a quintessential Railways cricketer - quiet, hardworking and effective. It is tragic to note that he is no more. Raja, who passed away due to cardiac arrest on Sunday, was only 36. I don't know much about his family except that he was running an academy. I hope and pray that God gives his family strength to overcome this loss.

When Reality strikes
While sport is liberating and gives one an expression, but like most things, it can't fight the inevitable. I felt this reality once more today. While I sat on my laptop to share my team's resounding win in our last game against the Titans, I ended up writing about Raja's demise.

Well, I am sure you all enjoyed our powerful performance against a good South African domestic team. Well, I did and was so happy to see DD get those runs. Hey, not Delhi Daredevils but our very own Debabrata Das.

He was brilliant and showed why we rate him so highly. It is difficult to imagine how a guy who is such a clean striker of the ball doesn't get the respect he deserves from his own people. Strange.

Moving on, Manvinder Bisla has often frustrated me. I keep telling him that he is good, and all he needs to do is to get that important C in his CV - consistency. Bisla hit some big strokes on Sunday, though he could have done better.

Chasing 189 was always an uphill task, especially after Kallis removed Davids. And, then, it was Mr Balaji all the way, tying the batsmen in knots.

He was in his elements and I thought the adjudicators would have had a tough time picking the 'man of the match' between him and Das. To be honest, Das was my choice as well.

Our campaign is over, but I am relieved to get some points on board.

Now, purely from the country point of view, I wish the Delhi Daredevils all the very best. I wish they are the ones who ensure that the CLT20 trophy stays in India.

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The writer is captain of KKR


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