Kenya batsman

Tanmay Mishra © Getty Images

By Taus Rizvi

Oct 8, 2013

Not many international cricketers from Mumbai are able to take out time to play in the famous monsoon tournament Kanga League. But there is one international star who makes it a point to visit India every year to be a part of the traditional tournament, which has produced many great players in the past.

Kenya’s Tanmay Mishra, also ranked 38 in the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) One-Day International (ODI) rankings for batsmen, has been a regular in the local Mumbai circuit whenever he gets time from his international commitments.

Playing for Parkophene Cricketers, the middle-order batsman slammed a half-century and played a crucial role in his team’s win over Shivaji Park Youngsters Sports Club in the A Division tie for the Police Shield on Sunday.

“I enjoy Mumbai’s cricketing culture. It is so competitive,” he told DNA. “I do play most of my season cricket here. You gain a lot of experience and learn a lot. It helps my game as we play in different and difficult conditions,” adds the 26-year-old.

Mishra, who has been brought up in Kenya, got the taste of Mumbai cricket when he had come to study business at Mumbai University in 2008.

“That is when I first played. I kept playing most of the A Division tournaments. I never missed the Kanga except for two years in between when it was washed out. I have played DY Patil T20, Police Shield, Purshottam Shield etc,” he said.

So how does he takes out time to play in Mumbai when during a busy international calendar?

“I travel to and fro from Nairobi whenever I get the time to play in Mumbai. Playing in Kanga League is difficult and challenging. Your technique improves and helps in learning to pace the innings. In this season, the ball moves a lot and this experience came handy for me in Scotland as I was accustomed to the movement,” he added.

Kenya lacks a strong domestic cricket structure which brings Mishra to Mumbai every year. “To be very fair we play only a couple of formats. There is East African Premier League, which is played in the 50 and 20 overs format. Although it is getting better, it is not as competitive. We need to invite more professionals from around the world to make it competitive. We need to pump in that kind of investment.

“Earlier, we used to have graded players like Chandrakant Pandit and Lalchand Rajput play in the Nairobi leagues. It should be something along those lines. This is the reason why I come here to play in Mumbai,” he said.

However, learning is not the only thing on Mishra’s mind. He wants to get noticed so that he could get an Indian Premier League (IPL) contract too. “I have been a part of the Deccan Chargers in the IPL and look forward to play again in the tournament,” said Mishra.

The recent terror attack on a shopping mall in Nairobi has saddened Mishra. “It is really sad to see something like this. In fact, my parents had left the mall only 10 minutes before the terrorists struck. It was very shocking.”

(Taus Rizvi is a Principal Correspondent with DNA. A club-level cricketer, he believes cricket helps in knowing a person’s character. Taus can be followed on @rizvitaus on Twitter. The above news has been republished with permission from DNA, where it first appeared)