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When Ganesha plays cricket

K.R. Ramakrishnan believes Lord Ganesha's blessing was there behind the recent victory of the Indian cricket team at Lord's.

WHEN K.R. Ramakrishnan decided to consecrate a temple for Lord Ganesh at his residence in Anna Nagar on March 11, 2001, it was a coincidence that the India- Australia test series in Kolkota was underway.

Being a cricket fan, Ramakrishnan took a vow before the Lord to name His idol "Cricket Ganesh" if India won the match. To his amazement, India not only won the test but also wrapped up the series 2-1, stalling Australia's winning streak of 16 tests in a row.

However, being a sceptic, he decided to wait for more happenings before breaking the news. The second `miracle' came a couple of months later when India trounced hosts Sri Lanka at Kandy on Ganesh Chathurthi day. But the clincher was the recently concluded Natwest Tri-series where India scored a historic win against England chasing a formidable target of 326 runs at Lords.

"It was a remarkable performance especially when you consider that India had lost five wickets including that of Sachin Tendulkar's for just 146 runs," says Ramakrishanan, who believes Ganesha's blessing was there behind the victory. "Not discounting the efforts taken by Yuvraj Singh and Mohammed Kaif in scripting the victory, there is some super power behind the Indian team," he says.

Ramakrishnan has also installed a deity with His trunk pointing to the left to help the left-handers in the game.

"Despite my hectic schedule, I perform poojas on a regular basis for the success of the team," says this General Manager (Legal) and Company Secretary of ACCEL ICIM Systems and Services Limited. His seven-minute long pooja includes special archana mantras like "Om boundary adippavare namaha, Om sixer adippavare namaha, Om hatrick eduppavare namaha, Om wicketaii eduppavare namaha, Om wicketaii odippavare namaha ... apart from prayers such as "Ganguly, Tendulkar, Sehwag, deergayushman bhava, anya Bharat cricket khiladi deergayushman bhava, sarva shatha mangalanu bhava" and "Bharat cricket hamesha vijayi bhava" at the end of the ritual.

Says Ramakrishnan, projecting the Lord in the incarnation of a cricket maestro, "When Ganesh bats, He makes the highest score. When Ganesh bowls, He claims a hat-trick. When Ganesh fields, no run can be scored. When Ganesh throws, He can run out anybody."

Cricket Ganesh is also harsh towards match fixers and people who try to create rift in the team by affecting the spirit of the game. "If any one tries to fix the match or form groups against any individual he will be gone for ever from the team and will loose all the name fame earned due to his hard work," he cautions.

But then why can't India win all the time it plays? Pat comes Ramakrishnan's reply "Ganesh has many assignments besides cricket. He has chosen the game just as a hobby to relax. India will win the day He chooses cricket as his hobby. So what about the World Cup next year? Will Ganesh set apart some time from his itinerary during the tournament? "For that the players should pray to him with sincerity and also do their homework," replies Ramakrishnan.

As the saying goes `God helps those who help themselves.'

SANGEETH KURIAN

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