Monday, October 29, 2007

Interview with Sony Cheruvathur, Kerala's new Ranji Trophy team captain

By John Cheeran
I was calling Sony Cheruvathur on the same evening (27-10-2007) when Kerala Cricket Association selected the state Ranji squad to take on Vidharba in Nagpur on November 3.
Let me quickly share this with you all. In Kerala’s cricket history, Sony is the first Ranji Captain who hails from Kunnamkulam, a provincial town imbued with rare survival instinct. Sony, though lives in Chengannoor, with his parents, is a true blue Kunnamkulam Nasrani.
Kunnamkulam is known for its printing presses and areca nuts and basketball players.
I have over the years talked to various cricketers including Sir Gary Sobers, Sachin Tendulkar and Kapil Dev for professional reasons. Never ever had I thought I would be talking to a cricketer from Kunnamkulam. Not even the Ranji variety!
Being Kerala Ranji team captain is not an insignificant honour, when you consider that the state has produced two Test cricketers – Tinu Yohannan and S Sreesanth – in recent times. Who knows Sony could be the next fast bowler in line.
I’m a realist. At 29 years young, Kerala’s newest cricket captain (Sony is making his debut as captain on November 3 against Vidharba, though he has led the side in pre-Ranji season tournaments this year. The odds are stacked heavily against Sony as far as forcing is way into the Indian national team.
Though he has been with Kerala Ranji squad for the last six years, Sony has got only a fair trial only in the last season. Sony played three matches and took 13 wickets including a best performance of 5/42 against Goa last season. As Sony says he has played only eight Ranji Trophy matches.
Kerala Cricket Association, it seems, has given Sony the leader’s role for his cool approach to the game as well as recognition for his all-round skills. Sony’s bold batting had landed him a place in the South Zone side for the Deodhar Trophy one day tournament. Sony had hit a quick fire 82 against Tamil Nadu in the Subbaiah Pillay Trophy to merit the list.
Skipper Sony is confident that Kerala, without the crutches of professionals, should do well in the Plate Division. KCA has abandoned the practice of hiring players, a policy that ran for the last six years, from outside. Last year, Kerala’s opening batsmen were imported from Tamil Nadu – S Suresh and Sadagopan Ramesh.
Kerala’s strength is their pace attack, points out skipper Sony, who himself is a crafty swing bowler. “There is Tinu but definitely we will miss Sreesanth.”
Sreesanth’s assignments with the national side have given other youngsters rare opportunities to show their arsenal. Sony makes an interesting observation when he points out that Kerala’s athletic tradition should be the reason why the state has produced a string of pacers. “Bowling is more similar to athletics. There is no requirement for refinement. Batting requires a lot more fine tuning in that sense. We have very few turf wickets available and this makes it difficult for the state to produce quality batsmen.”
Vellayani, CRL and Palace Oval are Kerala’s major turf wickets. These are not simply enough for a state that has a huge craze for cricket.


Stuart said...

Thanks for the articles. One of the joys of the internet is the ability to get wonderful information and knowledge about the rest of the world.

John said...

Adipoli article anna!

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