Bengaluru: Come the cricket world cup next month, another Bengalurian, Krishna Chandran, a first division player in the UAE, and an alumnus of Jain University, Bengaluru, will be seen in action – but not for India. He will represent the UAE.
The UAE team for the World Cup comprises two Indians, two Sri Lankans, two UAE locals; the rest of the players are from Pakistan.
Chandran was granted the residency of UAE (according to the criteria, that he had lived and worked in UAE for four years) in 2014. It was subsequent to this event, that he was picked to play the ACC Premier League for the UAE national team. He represented the UAE against the Pakistan A team in a five-match ODI series and did reasonably well. The UAE lost 3-2, but it is credit worthy as the Pakistan team comprised seven-eight international players.
"I am looking forward to playing against India and also Pakistan. We are all working professionals in the team and cricket is second to our job. In that sense, we are no match to these Test-playing nations; but since UAE is playing a World Cup for the first time since 1973, the excitement is tremendous," 30-year old Chandran, an all-rounder, told a local Bangalore daily.
Chandran lived in Malleswaram and pursued his degree from Jain University in Bengaluru and played for the Herons club. He represented Bengaluru University at the World University Cricket Championship in Mumbai.His ambition, however, was to play for his home state of Kerala in the Ranji Trophy as he hails from Palakkad However the Kerala selectors took him for a ride.
The financial considerations that come with familial responsibility being the eldest in the family, forced Chandran to move to the UAE in 2010.
"Two years after finishing my graduation (2007-09) I played every tournament in Chennai, Kerala and Bengaluru. I was desperate to get a job. I tried in banks and Railways under sports quota but nothing worked. In 2004-05, I was given an opportunity to play one day and Twenty20 for Kerala. I was hoping they would pick me for the four-day game in the next season, but the call never came. It was a big disappointment," says Chandran, a middle-order batsman and medium pace bowler.
On landing in UAE, he first got a job in a shipping company called Globe Link West Star Shipping. They had a cricket team, and that suited Chandran well. He then got a break in another company. He then played fo Fanatics, a local club and also got to play a lot of games in Umm Al-Quwain on weekends (i.e Friday and Saturday). In 2012-13, Chandran was also adjudged as the best cricketer, the first Indian to be accorded this award. However his talent was recognized when he did well in the Kerala Cricket League, a popular T20 tournament for which S Sreesanth and Malayalam actor Suresh Gopi are brand ambassadors.
He was then picked by Dnata, an Emirates-owned company; and he started playing for the Emirates team as the vice-captain. He even toured England with the Emirates team. Since then he has not looked back.
Chandran will become the first Malayali to represent to the UAE, despite half the migrant population being Malayalee.
"I am obviously excited and will be playing against Stuart Binny with whom I have fond memories of playing first division matches. Life has changed and is rather comfortable here," he says.
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