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M. V. Narasimha Rao
HYDERABAD: Far away in Ireland, former India Test cricketer M. V. Narasimha Rao (popularly known as Bobjee in cricketing circles in Hyderabad), was smiling away after Kevin O'Brien blew away England in the World Cup league match in Bangalore with the fastest century in the history of the championship (50 balls) on Thursday night.
This former Hyderabad Ranji captain, who settled in Ireland about two decades ago, had his role in shaping up the career of O'Brien brothers along with many members of the Ireland World Cup team, during his coaching stint there.
“I would like to congratulate the Irish team for its memorable performance against England. I am very proud to say that I was involved in coaching Porterfield, Ed Joyce, O' Brien brothers, Boyd Rankin, John Mooney, Gary Wilson, Dockrell & Andrew White from the youth level," the 57-year-old Bobjee recalled in an exclusive chat from Ireland.
“In association with former England pace bowler Mike Hendrick, I was instrumental in sending Ed Joyce to Middlesex in 1998-99 season. After that Ireland became a nursery for English County teams. That many others are following the suit is a matter of great joy,” the former India player said.
Referring to Kevin O'Brien, Bobjee recalled that the dashing batsman was initially an opening bowler who later transformed into a hard-hitting batsman.
“O'Brien has a very positive attitude to the game which was amply evident during that chase in Bangalore last night,” he pointed out.
“The O'Brien brothers are from a good pedigree as their father Ginger O' Brien also played for Ireland and played club cricket till the age of sixty. The entire family is cricket-oriented, dedicating everything for the sport,” the former India leg-spinner said.
“I feel this victory is a feather in my cap and I am very proud of these boys who are performing at the international stage. I had coached them from youth level, and after my recent MBE this is another fitting reward,” remarked Bobjee, who was recently conferred with the prestigious Member of British Empire Award by Ireland for his contribution to cricket and service to humanity, especially to ethnic minorities.
“India had better watch out,” was Bobjee's mild warning ahead of India's clash with Ireland this week-end.
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