RISING STAR Ravi Teja has a field time as the second season of the IPL comes to a close. JOSEPH ANTHONY
When the glitzy closing ceremony of the Indian Premier League’s second season was in full swing, Dwara Ravi Teja had a brainwave. The Deccan Chargers all-rounder was a die-hard fan of American singer Akon, who had performed at the said function. While his mates were living it up, Teja sneaked out, still in Chargers’ colours, persuaded his way past an elaborate security cordon and met his music idol. The rap icon showed no sign of reluctance or hesitation. He readily obliged when Teja sought a photo opportunity with him. The Hyderabad cricketer was only too pleased when Akon placed his hand on his shoulder and flashed that famous smile that makes women grow weak in the knees. He paid the price for that little escapade though, not being able to capture a single photograph of the Chargers in their moments of triumph.
That was a night embedded in his memory forever. The champagne flowed in the dressing room till midnight, following which the boys in blue partied till the wee hours. They stopped because they were too exhausted to go on. The victorious side was a tightly knit unit, sticking together right till they parted ways at the Johannesburg airport when leaving for their varied destinations. Quiz him about the memorable moments and the catch he took at deep mid-wicket to dismiss Robin Uthappa comes to mind first. Awkward ones include his bid to scoop Praveen Kumar over short fine leg going awry, when the stocky speedster chose to bowl a slower one and outside the off ! “I had to play a really funny shot, but it fetched two runs,” he recalls with a smile.
Another interesting interlude was a three-way wager between Teja, Venugopala Rao and Chargers’ physio Ashleigh Joyce. The lady lost and had to submit to a dunking in the swimming pool, with all her clothes on. No sooner was she completely drenched than she rushed out of the pool and ran after the guffawing duo. Her misery was complete when she fell down in her vain bid to catch them, much to the mirth of the mischievous twosome.The most difficult bowler to face was Lasith Malinga. “I was never sure where the next delivery would land nor where it was heading,” he said of the Sri Lankan paceman.
Picked along with Yo Mahesh and Cheteshwar Pujara for the Border-Gavaskar exchange camp at Brisbane, Australia back in 2007, he played against future IPL players Luke Ronchi and David Warner.Teja’s IPL debut was against the Rajasthan Royals at Jaipur in the first season and the muscular youngster was understandably nervous, a state that helps him perform better on the field. Thereafter, there were no butterflies in his six-pack tummy and he faced the firepower of cricket’s elite with calmness and confidence.
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