Sahim Salim meets Nitin Yadav Sanjana Bharadwaj, who claimed the legendary Brian Lara's wicket at a cricket clinic for budding Delhi players at the Ferozshah Kotla.
He rubs the ball purposefully on his trousers as he prepares to run down and hurl the first delivery to his toughest opponent yet. As his coach signals him, he runs in and pitches the ball right on the off-stump. Brian Lara, who had taken guard at middle stump, misreads the delivery, which misses his off-stump by a whisker.
A little disappointed, the youngster walks back. After waiting patiently for seven of his teammates to bowl at one of the best batsmen the world has seen, he gets his chance again. He runs in and pitches this one just outside off-stump. Lara misses it again, but this time the ball bounces back in and shatters off-stump. The lad walks back, as if nothing extraordinary happened, amidst cheers from his teammates.
"I did not know how to react," said the elated 18-year-old, Nitin Yadav.
"I was bursting with pride and excitement, but did not want to look arrogant. Lara, after all, is the best batsman in the world. It was exciting to get his wicket. He is a very humble man and on getting his wicket, the only thing he told me was 'well bowled'."
Yadav got to bowl a few more deliveries to the batting legend, who was conducting a cricket clinic for budding young Delhi players at the Ferozshah Kotla on Tuesday.
After facing the youngsters the legendary batsman from the West Indies confessed at a press conference later, "As you have seen, my batting is a bit rusty. But there are some very good players here."
Yadav hails from a small village on the outskirts of Delhi, called Paprawat, and was included in the Delhi under-19 team only this year. The right-arm fast-medium bowler, who has clocked 132 kmph already, claimed 10 wickets in the four matches he played for Delhi.
After the practice session, Lara honoured the bowler by presenting him a cricket bat signed by him. The rest of the team got miniature bats autographed by the former Windies skipper.
A few minutes after he was dismissed, Lara fell prey yet to another bowler. It was almost a slow motion replay of his earlier dismissal. But, this time, he lost his off-stump to 16-year-old lass Sanjana Bharadwaj, a left-arm spinner.
Said Bharadwaj, "It was amazing. I got the ball to spin away from him. He is a great man. To have shared a pitch with him itself is an honour."
Bharadwaj, who is in the Delhi-under 19 team for the past four years, is a Class XI student. In the last under-19 tournament, she claimed the maximum wickets for Delhi, including a six-wicket haul against Jammu.
Bharadwaj's father, Sudhir says, "She is a great all-rounder. Since I also used to play cricket, our family supports her. She has a lot of promise. She took Brian Lara's wicket!"