March 31, 2009

A one-armed cricketer

Nishi Narayanan

When he was seven years old, Abhimanyu Yalamanchili lost his left hand in an elevator accident. Now 19, he has been a regular in the Andhra Pradesh junior teams for several years. Devendra Pandey relates the inspiring story in the Indian Express:

When he first decided to play serious cricket in his home town Bangalore, Yalamanchili encountered a series of problems. “Whenever I tried to bowl fast, I used to lose my balance and fall down,” he recalls. He was given no chance by most coaches in the region. But one of them, Amit Pathak was convinced that Yalamanchili was ready to do the hard mile, and took him under his wing. “He introduced me to a physio Badrinath who prepared some special exercises for me. He made me work on my body to get the right balance while bowling and bat ting,” he says. Later, Pathak altered his bowling action by reducing his run-up and the two spent long hours together to get his balance right. The revised action was straighter, with a modified follow-through. Fielding was a big problem area as well. “I knew that if I had to play top-level junior cricket, I had to improve myself in every aspect. During the off-season, I underwent rigorous fielding sessions,” says Yalamanchili.

Nishi Narayanan is a staff writer at ESPNcricinfo

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