Relatives and neighbors of carpenter Taranpersad Balkaran remained baffled yesterday as to how his house burnt flat in the dead of the night, with him still inside it.
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‘Cricket is my first love’
“I have made it abundantly clear to everyone around me that cricket is my first love and nothing would come in the way of it.” So said Diamond United cricketer Anand Ajodha after he left his wedding reception to play in a cricket match many years ago.
Now, taking note that his club was in danger in the Colfire South Championship, Ajodha—who is a builder by profession—has decided to put aside building his house and devote his time to playing the game again. Remembering his situation years ago, he said: “I told my wife-to-be before the wedding day that I wanted the wedding completed by 11 am, as I had a cricket match to play for Usine Ste Madeleine for 1 pm.
“The pastor came early and the ceremony was over by 10.45 am, so I had enough time to cycle across to the ground and get in my warm-up session before play started.” As if to celebrate the occasion, Ajodha took six wickets in the match against Cosmos of Williamsville. At the conclusion of play, he jumped on his bicycle and rode home at around 6.45 pm.
“The wedding had about 50 people in attendance, and by the time I got back there were just a few people sitting around. I then decided to relax a bit and enjoy the evening.” Ajodha and his first wife are no longer together. He is now happily married again, to Meera Ajodha— who, he says, understands his love for the game.
“I parted ways with my last wife and today I consider myself lucky to be with Meera, who has really supported me with my cricket,” he said. When Ajodha leaves for cricket, his bag always includes a change of clothes, extra shoes, a new cricket ball, a scorebook and even a pencil, in case the scorer does not have one.
Ajodha is one of the top bowlers in the South Zone and was voted one of the Cricketers of the Year at the zone’s prize-giving ceremony in 2009. He bagged 33 wickets at an average of 8.9 runs each, with a best match performance of six for 37 against Evergreen.
His efforts enabled his club Franklyn and Errol Diamond United to win the South Zone Division One title. This season, he has come back after a short break and is among the wickets again. Just last weekend he took six wickets in the match against Dow Sports at the Kennedy Park.
A serious statistician, Ajodha has documented his performances in every South Zone match in which he has played since 1981. The 40-year-old medium-pacer has taken 952 wickets at a miserly average of 6.1 runs, with a best of eight for 36 against Gunners of Williamsville.
He has been very unlucky not to have gained selection in a southern interzone team, despite his performances with the ball over the years. “I cannot understand for the life of me how I never got called up for even a South trial. “I have been taking a bagful of wickets for Usine and Diamond United for the past 24 years and yet I have never gotten a call-up.
Over the past seasons, bowlers who did very little with the ball were being called and no notice was taken of me,” he said.
But one thing is very clear: Ajodha puts nothing before cricket and everything into it. Play on!
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