All eyes on Valthaty

Paul Chandrasekhar Valthaty of King's XI Punjab has now become a familiar name for all those who are following the ongoing IPL thanks to his amazing century against Chennai Super Kings (CSK) the other night.

And, the fans in Andhra Pradesh and more so from Nandyal can take immense pride that Valthaty has his roots in this small-town as his parents hailed from this place before the family shifted to to Mumbai.

So, when this 27-year-old flamboyant batsman who touched the imagination of even the hardcore fans with his scintillating batting against MS Dhoni-led outfit in the IPL, it should not be a surprise if he gets a roaring welcome at Rajiv Gandhi Stadium in the match against Deccan Chargers on Saturday. The Andhra connection might just be good enough for this wonderful stroke-maker to get a sentimental reception after he pushed himself to stardom with that 63-ball, 120 against CSK.

Reason? It is not just his roots which are from Andhra Pradesh but the way he owes a lot of his selection to represent India in the 2002 World Cup (under-19) to former Andhra Ranji captain V. Chamundeswaranath, former chairman of Junior national selection panel. “I remember Dilip bhai (Vengsarkar as BCCI Talent Research & Development Officer) telling me to have a close look at this boy. Then, I went for the selection matches and was impressed with his clean hitting,” recalls Chamundi. “It was unfortunate that an eye-related injury marred his career and forced such a long break before he made a telling comeback of sorts with the IPL century,” insists Chamundi, who was also behind Ambati Rayudu's selection for India Under-19 team long back despite not-so-impressive scores in the run-up to selection of Indian team.

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