AMRITBANI : Summer Break

Amrit Mathur

New Delhi:

The players are in the middle of a summer break, and much like students who don’t want to look at books after an energy-sapping exam; cricket is the last thing on their minds. For players it is time to relax, rest sore limbs, put up their feet and hit the bed without thinking about next net practice, the next gym session or the next team meeting. No more flights to take, no bags to pack, no silly functions to attend. So, without cricket, what do the stars do? Most are happy to lead a normal life temporarily, which means seniors spend time with family, play with kids and try to be useful at home. Steve Waugh once said his children thought he lived in a TV as they rarely got to see him at home. Perhaps worried about this, Sachin reserves all his time away from cricket for his family. He feels that staying away from growing up kids is a wrench and guards his privacy as fiercely as he protects his wicket. Presently he is on a holiday abroad, recharging his batteries, allowing his body and mind to regenerate before the madness begins again.

Others too have deleted cricket from their to-do lists. Kumble, elder statesman and committed family man, is in Bangalore. Sehwag is leaving for a well-deserved holiday on a cruise-ship with his wife. Sourav thought of Kent but abandoned the idea and opted instead to stay home with f & f (family and friends). There are few such compulsions for the younger,

unmarried lot. Harbhajan was set to play for Surrey until the ICC forced him to make doosra plans and destroyed his mental state. Nehra loves England, he will spend the summer playing club games and training there. Rahul Dravid will head for England to be alone; he desires escape from the responsibilities of being a celebrity. In Bangalore he has no time for himself because there is always some commitment to fulfill, another ribbon to be cut, another speech to be made.

For him England is a favoured destination as it offers a chance to catch up with walks in the garden, shopping, visits to museum and the theatre. Trust Mr Professional to construct a break with the same precision as he builds an innings – his holiday has space for family and fitness, relaxation is on the agenda but so is regular training. Dravid will visit his favourite Italian restaurant but keep a mental note of the calories he is consuming. Even during a break cricket remains on the agenda. Sachin could be at a F1 race but his mind will be on the June 14 tsunami match. Others too are on holiday but the team physio/trainer chase them through phone calls and e-mails to ensure the stars keep away from parathas and pizzas.