India cricket August 3, 2014

From Rajkot to Oxfordshire

Manoj Parmar, who kept wicket for Saurashtra in the 90s, is now an ECB-certified Level 4 coach who owns the biggest sports shop in Oxfordshire. Sandeep Dwivedi of the Indian Express pays him a visit.

The number of Parmar's wards bloated with time and the spike got noticed by the club officials. One day, as Parmar went out collecting litter from the ground after training, an old habit from his playing days, he was called by club chairman, the late John Fulkes, who was the secretary of Oxford Cricket Board, ECB's cricket manager for south region. Fulkes, unmarried but a true cricket romantic, was an Oxford graduate and a deputy head of local school. He stayed with his mother and spend most of his after-work hours drawing schedule for school cricket, score for them or being the lone little league spectator.

"Mr Fulkes asked me to buy a house. I could just spare 800 pounds but he would give me about 3 to 4 lakh pounds since my family was growing. He really liked what I did and he wanted to me to make Thame my home," says Parmar. In a twist of fate, the day after Parmar got the cheque, Fulkes succumbed to a heart attack. "I wanted return the cheque to the family, but his mother told me that 'If John had given the cheque, you must have done something good."