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The son also rises

Australia played what to them was the least significant tie of the summer in Hong Kong en route to England for the Ashes tour. The result didn't really matter, the ground was terribly small, sixes were as easy to hit as quaffing a beer and it was generally accepted as being one of those festival matches, never mind if the ICC had sanctioned it.

But to one cricketer, it was a match of momentous significance. He was the lone player in the Rest of the World team who has never had any national experience and he obviously got into the team because of reasons other than just cricket. Rohan Gavaskar apparently has managed to convince his father that he is serious about making a career in cricket and daddy-o, like all good Indian fathers, is trying his level best to push his son as far as he can.

Papa has already done some groundwork; the lad may not be able to shine that much if he plays for Bombay, given the number of talented players in that part of the country. So, he has transferred to West Bengal and, to be true, has scored heavily for that team. The transfer serves to give him the chance of being picked for India as one of the quota players from that state -- and no matter what anyone says, this is exactly the way selection is done in India after it was decided that a selector from each zone would sit on the national panel -- and also keep him in Jagmohan Dalmiya's home state. This man has a lot to do with Indian cricket and being a member of his own home state will do no-one harm.

Gavaskar Sr, it must be remembered, is a tough act to follow; he ensured that his name would stay in the record books for his batting feats and took his profession very seriously. He was not exactly one of those with a wealth of natural talent but he honed what talents he had, learnt at every step and made himself one of those who could score on any kind of wicket. In fact, he often seemed to relish batting on tracks where bowlers were wreaking havoc and watching him play in such matches was a treat for the conoisseur. He was one of those who had a goal in mind when he went out to bat.

At first sight, the son could not be more different. The boy is left-handed and plays in as different a manner as his father as possible. There are lofted shots aplenty and he tends to take some risks, something his father used to eschew. But Gavaskar Sr has apparently been talking to his son about temperament and if that sinks in and Rohan manages to even summon up a tenth of the temperament which his father had, then he would be well on course for an Indian cap.

But it would be better if Gavaskar Sr did not push quite so hard. At times, it does become embarrassing for a youngster to get into a team only because of pull. As it is, he has a problem merely because he bears the name Gavaskar; to live upto the achievements of his father is a difficult task. He should not also have the feeling that he has got a berth in the team because his father is who he is. The boy is still young and there is time and in due course, if he continues to perform as he has for Bengal, then he would not find it that difficult to get a chance to play for his country.

It would not be possible for Gavaskar Sr to be impartial in this matter and one would certainly not expect it of him. But he would do well if he were to guide the youngster and not push him, teach him and not drill things in and show him how to fish rather than try to feed him a fish every day. He named his son after a man who was one of the greatest batsmen of the century and thus there is a double burden on the boy. It is tough to handle that much pressure. It would better if he is left to find the best way to tackle it and given the time to do so.

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