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Updated: January 7, 2011 19:33 IST

Anything for cricket

Vijay Lokapally
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K.P. Bhaskar: Cricketer. College: PGDAV (B.Com). Photo: S. Subramanium
The Hindu
K.P. Bhaskar: Cricketer. College: PGDAV (B.Com). Photo: S. Subramanium

He chose college over campus (read North Campus); PGDAV over Hindu College or St. Stephen's. It was not a tough decision for K.P. Bhaskar when he passed out from Modern School, New Delhi. He was one of the brightest youngsters on India's cricket circuit. The year was 1980. “I wanted to concentrate on cricket. I know most would have grabbed a chance to study at any college on North Campus but I had my priorities right,” says Bhaskar.

Having honed his skills at the Sonnet Club, it was natural for Bhaskar to seek admission in PGDAV College. His mentor, Tarak Sinha, a coach at Sonnet, was also in-charge of cricket at PGDAV. Bhaskar had excelled in junior cricket and wanted no “deviation” from his goal. “There was no better platform than PGDAV for a cricketer,” he remembers. His contemporaries were Manoj Prabhakar and Bantu Singh and juniors were Sanjeev Sharma and Ajay Sharma.

Bhaskar studied Commerce. “I hardly attended classes because all the time we were busy with cricket. I was playing under-22 and Ranji Trophy. There was a lot of cricket then, too. It was only during the monsoon that we would go and attend some classes.”

And then came an excuse — and a pleasant one at that, for Bhaskar, and some more cricketers, to make sure they took their Economics lessons without fail. “The economics teacher was very pretty. I don't remember her name but we were too happy to sit in her class. She was strict too and became very friendly later.”

Bhaskar has some fond memories of his college. “The canteen was small but a happening place even then. It would sometimes take me two hours to reach college (from Rajinder Nagar to Lajpat Nagar). I had to change buses (take No. 410 from Central Secretariat), but it was fun.”

Was he ragged? “In my second year, a pass-out came to the college and picked on me out of jealousy. I was prepared. Word spread and soon the football team of the college cornered him and his gang. They were chased out and never again seen near the college.”

Another incident that Bhaskar recalls revolved around cricket. “We were playing KM (Kirori Mal) in the final at Khalsa College. They took the lead and then dug up the pitch. There was furore. But then we had time to repair the pitch. The match resumed and we won. PGDAV dominated university cricket and broke the monopoly of Hindu and St. Stephen's.”

PGDAV was a boys' college. “You can call it a sports college actually. I was in my final year when it became co-ed. But then the pretty ones were rejected. Our sports teacher was not in favour of any distractions for his sportsmen. Disappointing for us, definitely, but all that has changed now. My college now boasts one of the best crowds in Delhi University. Tempting enough to seek readmission,” he laughs.

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