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Rising son

Aaron Paul's feats on the field prove he is a worthy successor to his illustrious father

— Photo: Satish. H

Like father, like son — Photo: Satish. H

A CHIP of the old block! Seventeen-year-old Aaron Paul, the emerging star on the Hyderabad cricketing firmament, has every reason to be described as one. Son of former Ranji batsman, Vijay Paul, who in his day was compared to the likes of G.R. Viswanath for his vintage stroke play, this young cricketer is certainly on the upswing.

Aaron has an enviable record to back it up. For Aaron it was clear he was destined to be a cricketer.

And, within a year of joining the camp at Gymkhana where the late Eddie Aibara bowled the first ball the youngster had ever faced on the field, the gifted batsman is making decent strides in the domestic league.

The local media covering a Moin-ud-Dowla Trophy match at NFC Grounds about five years ago was surprised to see this young boy bat the whole day and score a century in a South Zone under-13 grade game.

An acknowledged run accumulator rather than a flamboyant batsman, without even his father's wristy elegance,, Aaron made the first big impact scoring 400 runs, including two centuries, for his coaching camp in the

All India BPCA tournament in Bangalore when he was sixth standard - an effort which thrilled his father-cum-coach.

"Then I decided that Aaron has the talent and the will to succeed at the highest level," recalls veteran Vijay Paul.

Role model

Aaron's priced possession is a blue-and-white cap that his uncle uncle Dayakara Rao gave him.

He is patient on and off the field as his role model Rahul Dravid advised him sometime ago. However, he is not above treating erring bowlers with contempt.

For his age, Aaron is technically sound and has a cool temperament. These are features, which should hold him in good stead. Having already represented Hyderabad in the under-19 grade last year, Aaron is now looking for a big season ahead. He knows that this is the most crucial phase of his career. And, predictably the focus is on fitness and fielding, which Vijay Paul feels can be the grey areas as he moves into the big league.

Aleading run-getter for Hyderabad in the under-16 category, Aaron has surprised watchers with his leg-spin which has already fetched him 28 wickets this season.

From fast to leg-spin

"Initially, I was a fast bowler and slowly started bowling leg-spin. The best part is I am enjoying it," says the Intermediate second year student of Bhavan's Aurobindo College (Sainikpuri). Yet, his father insists that Aaron should concentrate on batting and bowling should be a bonus.

The late Aibara on seeing Aaron Paul at Gymkhana Ground said, "You look like your father. And, play like him." Aaron comes from the same school, which saw a seven-year-old Ambati Tirupati Rayudu approach Vijay Paul to come to grips with the basics of the game.

And, the other coincidence is that both are from the same college. Aaron is ready for any challenge.

With his father being doubly keen to see that Aaron shows the desired discipline off the field, which he feels is essential to be successful in all walks of life, Aaron seems to be keen to write a new chapter for a truly cricketing family.

V. V. SUBRAHMANYAM

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