An album with 400 stamps on cricket and cricketers, of which 180 are of the World Cup since 1975, is the proud property of a city priest.

Stamps of Don Bradman, Sir Viv Richards, Brian Lara, Sunil Gavaskar, Kapil Dev, Ian Botham, Imran Khan, Arjuna Ranatunga, Richard Hadley and Steve Wagh are among several cricketers in the album of Father Tom John, the parish priest of Malam Noatoli in Gumla diocese.

“I have stamps related to cricket released even by a small country like St Guinea-Bissau. This year it released a stamp on cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar,” Fr. John, who became addicted to philately since the first World Cup in 1975, said.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines in the West Indies have released stamps on legends Sunil Gavaskar and Kapil Dev — both of whom were in the 1983 World Cup-winning team, he said.

Regret

The Franciscan priest, who has pledged to continue his hobby till his last breath regrets that India has not issued a stamp on any cricketer while other countries have released stamps on Indian cricket heroes. “I am optimistic some day our country will release stamps on players such as Tendulkar and Dhoni, who should be honoured when they are still playing,” Father John said.

“You can see Sri Lanka has a stamp of Muttiah Muralitharan. He must be feeling very happy,” the priest said.

“I am a fan of Team India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

“He is from Ranchi and I wish and pray for him,” the 50-year-old said.

“I am looking for an opportunity to meet Dhoni and get his autograph. I have planned to watch the final between India and Sri Lanka with some people this evening,” he added.

Father John said he had began his hobby after reading a book which suggested to make the most of leisure time.

“Since then I have spent Rs. five lakh in buying stamps.

“Cricket is one of the 186 subjects in my collection. Football, athletics, handball, volleyball, birds, flowers, animals, religious places and monuments are some of the other subjects which I am interested in,” he said. — PTI

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