A king who put off his coro­na­tion to play cricket!

Sportstar - - GROUND REPORT MANIPUR - WRIDDHAAYAN BHAT­TACHARYYA

A re­turn to roots, multi­sports acu­men and a star coach — Ma­nipur’s cricket team is filled with heart­felt sto­ries.

Home­com­ings are al­ways spe­cial. Shel­ley Shau­rya left Imphal for Delhi when he was three. He honed his craft at the Madan Lal Academy at the Siri Fort Sports Com­plex that was built for the 19■2 Asian Games, even rep­re­sent­ing the cap­i­tal in do­mes­tic Twenty20 cricket. Twenty­two years later, his roots pulled him back to where he was born.

At Imphal’s Luwang­pokpa Sta­dium in the last week of Au­gust, as Ma

nipur’s crick­eters pre­pared for their maiden sea­son of do­mes­tic cricket, Shau­rya shad­owed the bound­ary line. He’d just landed and hadn’t had time to change. His black tee and den­ims drew looks on the greens.

“Are you a bowler?” Thoudam Ak­shayku­mar Singh, the side’s se­nior­most player, asked.

“Yes, I am a medium pacer. I came here for an in­tro­duc­tion since I don’t know the play­ers,” Shau­rya replied.

Later, at an in­ter­ac­tion chaired by Ma­nipur Cricket As­so­ci­a­tion hon­orary sec­re­tary Singam Priy­obrata Singh and Tommy

Thin­gom, its gen­eral man­

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