Lockdown diaries: Jalaj Saxena finds time for photography

With no IPL and no cricket commitments due to the coronavirus pandemic, Jalaj Saxena is happy being stuck in Bhilai.

Jalaj Saxena with Kerala's former coach Dav Whatmore.   -  V. V. SUBRAHMANYAM

All-rounder Jalaj Saxena’s Ranji Trophy campaign for Kerala had ended in February. After Delhi Capitals released him from the IPL pool, he wanted to go to Sri Lanka to play first-class cricket but everything is at a standstill due to the coronavirus 21-day lockdown in India.

Saxena has returned to his hobby, photography.

In the off-season, the 32-year-old often goes cycling and he captures landscapes, birds and skylines. “It is a different situation now that we are all going to be home for three weeks, so I was thinking of waking up around 4 in the morning to take pictures of the stars and the sky. I am trying to find time to learn some new things while I am at home.

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“I came to Bhilai to meet my brother before the Covid-19 outbreak. I thought of staying here for two to three days but I got stuck. It is a good thing because I am spending time with my family,” Saxena told Sportstar.

When not playing for Kerala, Jalaj Saxena admires the morning birds through the lens of his digital camera.   -  Pic Courtesy: Jalaj Saxena

 

Many domestic and international cricketers are trying to keep themselves fit by engaging in backyard cricket but Saxena, who is a right-arm off-break bowler and an opening batsman, is totally off the game at present. He is away from social media too. “Right now, I have made my mind to not watch any television or unlimited social media. I am staying away from these things and trying to read some books; getting to know new things. I am not able to do any cricket training but I am doing all exercises I need to do to maintain my body,” he said.

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Had it not been for the pandemic, he perhaps would have gone to Sri Lanka. “Chennai League was there but it got postponed. And I wanted to go to Sri Lanka for exposure. It would have been my first time. I wanted to play and I was speaking to somebody, and the season was about to start. I hadn’t committed but the deal was almost there.”

In an interview to this publication, legendary off-spinner Harbhajan Singh had criticised the selectors for not picking Saxena.

Saxena had taken note of that. “I felt really nice that someone of his class spoke about me. He is a legend for me. So if he says something nice about me, it gives me happiness and at the same time, it should motivate me and hopefully, good things will happen.”

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In the off-season, Jalaj Saxena often goes cycling and he captures landscapes, birds and skylines.   -  Jalaj Saxena

 

As of now, his only concern is the availability of essentials at home. “We have everything now but I am not sure how long our supplies will last but the government has mentioned we need not worry about essentials, so we are hoping we can get the stock once it finishes.”

In the last five years, Saxena is one among five all-rounders to have 3,000+ runs and 150+ wickets in first-class cricket. The elite list includes England internationals Moeen Ali and Ben Stokes, New Zealander Jeetan Patel and Kent cricketer D. Stevens.

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