Balaji Rao - Who?

Courtesy: Express India (from 2001)

I hope our boys will halt the winning streak of the Australians,’’ said the National senior cricket selection committee chairman Chandu Borde, who watched the conditioning camp here today.

‘‘I am optimistic about the series against the Aussies. Our players are being shaped up for the contest. The camp will give them the required physical and mental strength. The boys are being prepared in the right course by coach John Wright.’’ he said.

He expressed concern about leg-spinner Anil Kumble not playing in the series. When asked if the the focus would be on the Tamil Nadu leg-spinner WD Balaji Rao, the selection panel chief said ‘‘Balaji Rao is being monitored closely. He has been doing well.’’

That was the closest that WD Balaji Rao ever came to in terms of playing international cricket for India. The series that the linked article relates to is the one where Harbhajan Singh became the next big Indian spinning star (the series is also known as the 281 series). A bit of luck here and there and it could so easily have been Balaji Rao modeling for Royal Stag and asking - Have I made it large?

Things have changed a fair bit for him in the last decade. He now plays international cricket for Canada and is back in the sub-continent to prove a point or two.

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