The cricketer was wildly cheered by the children

When L. Balaji entered the Pondicherry Engineering College's auditorium as the chief guest of the Puducherry edition of The Hindu Young World-2010, there was a huge smile on the face of every school kid in the venue.

A member of the Chennai Superkings team in the Indian Premier League, Mr. Balaji seems to be a hugely popular man among children, who cheered at the top of their voices when quiz master V.V. Ramanan introduced him.

Later, giving away the prizes, he spoke to The Hindu about his view on the current India- New Zealand series and the upcoming Ashes tour.

Mr. Balaji said that the drawn games in the India-New Zealand test series had a lot to do with the flat wickets that offered very little for the bowlers. “You cannot win a test match if you do not pick up twenty wickets. Such flat tracks offer nothing. They should prepare tracks that would give everyone an equal playing ground,” he said.

On the performance of spinners Harbhajan Singh and Pragyan Ojah in the first two test matches, he said that they could not be blamed for their performance given the nature of the tracks. Also, the injury to fast bowler Zaheer Khan has had an impact on the team's bowling performance, he said.

On the upcoming Ashes tour, he said that with a number of friends in the Australian team, he hoped they would be able to win it.

On upcoming Ashes tour, he that with many friends in the Australian team, he hoped they would win it.