HYDERABAD: For all the sights and sounds of cricket, epitomised by the DLF-Indian Premier League, you could find the odd player who relishes the silence of a study table, to pen a few thoughts or refresh himself with reading.
If you thought those fluid strokes flowed only from his blade, think again. The seven-article series Sanjay Bangar wrote on a popular cricket website is still read widely. He’ll laugh if you describe it as good, but the feedback to his writing has mostly been positive.
Much of his writing is rooted in his reading. For instance, his cricketing persona blossomed by reading Sunil Gavaskar’s Sunny Days. Gifted by his father Bapu Saheb on being selected to the Maharashtra under-15 camp, the book’s first reading itself left him with enough lessons for life. The Little Master’s conquest of the West Indian pace battery on his maiden tour, even when suffering from a cavity and a whitlow, taught Bangar there was no gain without pain.
When India’s batting began to rely increasingly on Gavaskar, he curbed his use of the hook, responsibilities to the team overriding personal preferences. The batting legend being beholden to seniors such as Dilip Sardesai and Salim Durrani revealed gratitude meant attitude. “You lose nothing in being grateful,” says the Deccan Chargers all-rounder.
Playing in the Lancashire league left Bangar with enough time to explore well-stocked libraries in the neighbourhood. Biographies are a favourite, the life-stories of Gordon Greenidge, David Gower, Imran Khan and Dennis Lillee, quite difficult to put down. History is another favourite, the lives and times of Chatrapathi Shivaji or his son Sambaji holding out much charm.
Expeditions to Everest have fascinated him as much as opened his eyes to the greater degree of difficulty in climbing K2 than in scaling the world’s tallest peak.
His first foray into Marathi writing was in Shivaji Sawant’s Mrutunjay that explores Karna, the epic hero.
A poem Bangar wrote while in the Caribbean in 2001-02 had a line or two devoted to each player in the squad, contributing to team spirit and morale. The 50-poem collection his father, the son of a poor farmer, penned to celebrate every achievement in the family, he made into a small booklet.
“One who’s sensitive to the surroundings and emotions, will write well,” he says, referring to matters close to his heart.
The B Com graduate from Jhunjunwala College completed the company secretaryship intermediate course in 2000 and hopes to finish the final someday. “Middle-class values have taught me not to be overawed or intimidated by anybody or anything,” he says, such a mindset evident in his approach to the game.
There’s one regret in life though. His mother Sindhu succumbed to lung cancer months before Bangar’s international debut. Her hard work, whether through knitting, running a boutique or beauty parlour, had kept the family afloat financially, especially after the household moved from its native Aurangabad to Mumbai to pursue Sanjay’s promising cricket career.