When Vimal T. Jacob joined BPCL Kochi Refinery eight years ago, the volleyball team’s coach Sethumadhavan spoke excitedly about this nice new setter.
“He’s a left-hander, a very smart setter, he’s good at the block and he can even come up a surprise smash,” said Sethumadhavan then.
A setter is the brain behind the team’s attack and the coach seemed to have struck gold.
That, however, did not push the young Vimal into prominence. For, the BPCL team had a very experienced setter in B. Anil, a playmaker his teammates, including Tom Joseph, had been comfortable with. Tom and Anil had been playing together even before joining the oil major, at Cochin Port Trust, and none had the will to break the combo.
So, Vimal was forced to wait, year after year. “It’s true, there were moments of frustration, but then I could learn a lot of things watching Anil. Still, every year, I thought next year I would get a chance,” said Vimal here on Thursday.
With Anil getting older, slower and at times, a bit of a problem in the block, that next year appeared just days away, but with his senior being part of many national title-winning teams, including last year’s Senior National which Kerala won, it never came.
For eight long, frustrating years! Anil called it a day in March this year aged 39, after playing for nearly two decades. And Vimal’s time finally came.
This is Vimal’s first year as the main setter for the BPCL, a former National League champion which has some of the country’s biggest stars including international Vibin M. George, libero Kiran Philip and top star Kishore Kumar, apart from Tom Joseph.
Vimal is clearly keen to make the most of it. He has a good chance to be defending champion Kerala’s lead setter at the forthcoming Senior Nationals in Jaipur in January, 2013. With Anil out and the other top setter K.J. Jayalal suffering from a back problem, Vimal’s prospects are getting brighter and brighter. “Yes, I think he will be Kerala’s setter at the Senior Nationals,” said Tom.