How far will you go to satisfy your cricket lust? Ask Ranganathan Parameswaran Easwaran, who spent an absurd amount of money out of his own pocket to construct a world-class cricket stadium after purchasing a sizable parcel of land in Dehradun back in 2005. Easwaran can’t be blamed for feeling a little nostalgic on January 3 when Bengal faces hosts Uttarakhand in a Ranji Trophy Group B match-up because his son Abhimanyu, an opener vying for a spot on the national squad, will be playing a first-class match at the “Abhimanyu Cricket Academy Stadium.”
“It is a proud moment for me to play a Ranji game at a ground where I learned all my cricket as a young boy. This is a result of his (father’s) love and hard work and it is always a great feeling to come home but once you are on the field, the focus is on winning the game for Bengal,” 27-year-old Abhimanyu, who has 19 hundred and was recently part of the Indian Test squad in Bangladesh, told PTI on the eve of the match. Stadiums named for great cricketers after their retirement are not a recent phenomenon, however, there aren’t many instances of an active Indian uncapped first-class cricketer who would play at a venue bearing his name. Whether it was the Allan Border Field in Brisbane, the Brian Lara Stadium in Trinidad & Tobago, or the Viv Richards Ground in Antigua, the grounds and stadiums were renamed when the legends’ great careers were over.
In that sense, watching Abhimanyu perform at “Abhimanyu Stadium” is a memorable experience for both father and son. Since a few years ago, the BCCI has hosted numerous domestic matches (senior, junior, women’s, and age groups), although the stadium’s owner has never participated in a first-class match. The gorgeous venue also includes floodlights. “Yes, I don’t think there are many instances, but for me, this is not an achievement. Yes, it feels good but the real achievement would be if my son can play 100 Tests for India. This is a stadium I built because of my passion for the game and not just for my son,” RP Easwaran told PTI ahead of the Ranji Trophy game.
“I started constructing (it) in 2006 and I am still spending from my pocket to upgrade it constantly. There are no returns but it’s all about my love for the game.” A chartered accountant by profession, Easwaran started the ‘Abhimanyu Cricket Academy’ in 1988 even before his son was born in 1995. “I had been a newspaper vendor and sold ice creams in Dehradun as I completed my CA degree. I wanted to give back to the game and it is my good fortune that God gave me a son who also plays cricket. But the passion to create a cricket facility was always there. Now I have left active practice and just relax,” the sense of fulfillment was palpable in Easwaran senior’s tone.