When Roosh Kalaria joined his teammates at the Sardar Vallabhai Patel stadium on the eve of Gujarat’s Ranji Trophy match, he got a congratulatory hug from the Gujarat camp. Not for having finished as Gujarat’s highest wicket-taker despite missing the last league game but for having entered into the most important partnership off the field.
With Gujarat assured of a place in the quarterfinals, the team management had given Kalaria a break from the last league round that finished on February 15, since he was to get married in Ahmedabad the very next day.
On Friday, the second day of the match, Kalaria registered his personal best with the bat, with the pace-bowing all-rounder’s third First Class hundred helping Gujarat put one foot in the semifinals.
Was he tempted to skip the quarterfinal and take his newly-wed on a customary holiday? “Never,” pat comes the reply. “It was a quarterfinal and it’s an extremely important match for us. It’s a big stage for us, so celebrations can wait, it was time to join my teammates and keep our quest of regaining the Ranji Trophy alive.”
Kalaria insists Megha, his wife, had no problem with him leaving home for a match hours after they tied the knot. “She is very practical about it and she even told me that I could play the last game too if I wanted to but thankfully I got a break. Since we had already qualified, the management gave me a break so I could attend the pre-wedding ceremonies.”
Kalaria, who has recently changed the spelling of his name from Rush to Roosh to avoid confusion over pronunciation, shot to fame for his left-arm pace bowling during India’s victorious Under-19 World Cup campaign. Since then, he has cemented his place in Gujarat’s Ranji side and has now emerged as the lead pacer. He is happy with his sojourn so far, which has seen him scalping more than 160-plus wickets at less than 24 and scoring 1700-plus runs, including three hundreds, in 52 games.
“It’s been good. I am getting better and better. I am learning how to deal with various situations, how to create opportunities, even with the bat, so today also I thought that if we can raise a big total on the board, we can put them under pressure,” he concluded.
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