Dayananda Garani “still does not know how it happened”. Seven years ago, while playing for the Kolkata Police, he led traffic through the busy streets of Kolkata as a civic police volunteer. Three years later, he was with Andhra Ranji’s team, first as a masseur, then as a throwing specialist. During this edition of the IPL, Garani gave setbacks to KL Rahul and his teammates as the support staff of Kings XI Punjab in the Indian Premier League (IPL).
In a few days, Garani would fly to Australia from Dubai as a member of the touring Indian cricket team. With India’s Raghu regular throwing specialist ill, Garani was recruited to replace him.
“A few days ago, Kings XI Punjab manager Avinash Vasantrao told me not to break the bio-bubble, because I would go from the bio-bubble of our franchise to the bio-bubble of the team. Indian. I don’t know who recommended my name, but it’s a dream come true, ”Garani told The Indian Express from Dubai. Members of the Indian team for the tour of Australia, starting November 27, are currently camping in the United Arab Emirates.
Garani’s father, Lakshmi Kanta, is a farmer in the village of Jamitya. Cricket came to his life through Kolaghat Cricket Club, where he was paid Rs 80 per month to play. It was still expensive for a family struggling to make ends meet.
“Dr Malay Pal and Koushik Bhowmik from Cricket Club 80 have helped me a lot, both financially and by encouraging me to go to Kolkata for a career in cricket. The one-way trip from Kolaghat to Kolkata took over three hours. I used to come back around midnight and the next day the alarm was set for 4am. On many occasions I have stayed in their places (Malay Pal and Koushik Bhowmik), ”Garani said.
He cycled 10 kilometers every day from his village to catch a train from Kolaghat to Kolkata. Kolaghat is a town in East Midnapore about 65 kilometers from the state capital.
It was an average stimulus. After playing for Baranagar Sporting Club and White Border Sporting Union in the CAB league, Garani joined the Kolkata Police Force in 2013. “Financial constraints stopped my cricket afterwards. Debraj Nahata, the secretary of the Kolkata Police Club, helped me get the civic police station. He also advised me to do fitness and massage lessons. I completed a diploma in nature therapy in addition to taking certificate courses in strength and conditioning. I also obtained a diploma in massage therapy, ”Garani explained on her journey.
In 2015, former Bengal batsman Alokendu Lahiri, then playing for the Kolkata Police Club, introduced Garani to Bengal team coach Ranji, Sanjib Das. The latter helped him to join Andhra Ranji’s team as a masseur in 2016. “I also started to throw the nets. My club cricket background helped and gradually I got good at it, ”said the 28-year-old, who has given setbacks to players like Indian batsman Hanuma Vihari at the Andhra Nets.
During a Ranji Trophy match, Punjab coach Munish Bali liked what he saw and recommended Garani’s name to the KXIP leadership. “Yes, that’s why I got the KXIP position this year. There have been many fond memories of the IPL, sharing the dressing room with the players and Anil bhai (Kumble). Of course, I wasn’t expecting the call from India. But I am up to the challenge.