Shelley Shaurya returns to roots in Manipur

The Delhi cricketer left Imphal as a three-year-old, only to return as an effective 24-year-old bowling all-rounder as his state prepares for domestic cricket debut.

Shelley Shaurya at the Luwangpokpa Stadium in Imphal.   -  WRIDDHAAYAN BHATTACHARYYA

“I remember the windows and the main door of the house that we used to live in. It’s been many years. I was three when we moved,” Delhi cricketer Shelley Shaurya tells Sportstar. Now in the domestic cricket grind, the North Eastern states — using the ‘domicile’ window — are on a retrieve mode.

Like Hokaito Zhimomi — who took transfer [from Assam] to be ready for Nagaland duty — Shaurya is set to run in for Manipur, his birth place, in the forthcoming season involving nine new teams.

Eligibility criteria for local player

Birth qualification

# A member within whose jurisdiction he/she is born.

# Working, studying, residing in the jurisdiction of the association for at least a year.

Documents required

# Employment certificate along with six months salary slip [starting August 2017]

# A bonafide certificate signed by the principal of school or college

# Copies of Aadhar card/passport

He isn’t any pace express, but the control over line and length holds him in good stead. He can bat too.

The patchy outfield at the Luwangpokpa Stadium in Imphal, due to unpredictable showers, prompted Shaurya to limit his training (at a different ground in the vicinity) this weekend, but he paid a visit.

The local players, in their whites, were a bit surprised to spot a curly-haired guy (in black tee and a denim) shadowing near the boundary line. “Are you a bowler?” “Yes, medium pacer.”

 

Akshay Kumar, one of the elders in the player pool, took a note of his credentials.

“I came here for an introduction since I didn’t know the players,” says Shaurya.

An alumnus of St. Stephens College, Shaurya had also cracked the National Talent Search Exam; he is a scholar in his own right.

“The schooling and college happened in Delhi. At that time, unfortunately, there was no cricket in Manipur. I am glad I have an opportunity to serve my state now. Whatever little experience I have gained, I will try to share that,” he adds.

The youngster appeared in four T20 games for Delhi [in 2013 and 2014] before internal politics ruled him out. “After playing those games, I also led in the U-25 and U-23 age-groups. I was also among wickets, but I didn’t get picked,” he reveals.

Gujarat Lions bench

Though he didn’t get a game, he bowled to a host of international cricketers in the now-defunct Gujarat Lions nets in the Indian Premier League.

“In terms of ability, I didn’t find much difference between the internationals and the Ranji players. It’s just the mental aspect which holds the key. They were getting out on the same deliveries [like the Ranji players]. When a match is on, the international players score on mindset. The local players have a certain pressure to perform. I can share all these experiences when I am in the Manipur dressing room,” he says.

Manipur being a powerhouse of sports, Shaurya believes cricket will slowly fit in. “The active sports culture will help. So many footballers from here represented India in football. Cricket was the only thing that was lacking.”

Shaurya is a product of Madan Lal Cricket Academy, but his genetics lie in the foothills of Imphal.