February 8, 2001

My father's achievements will live on

Pranab Roy

I remember that I had just started my international career when, one day in Mumbai, I met the great Vijay Merchant. He said, "If you can reproduce even 25% of the game that your father had, you will be a very successful cricketer." It was my bad luck that I could not do so.

My father Pankaj Roy is no more with us. However, his achievements will definitely live on. As I was leafing through the family album on Tuesday, I suddenly came across a faded picture of him. He was avoiding a bouncer aimed at his body by Fred Trueman. It can be an ideal guide to youngsters learning cricket today. The picture aptly proves the technician that he was.

It will be wrong on my part to analyse the ability of my father as a cricketer. I am too small for this. I can only say that he was a great man. A man, who in spite of his deeds never forgot his roots. He used to mix freely with everybody and never tried to show that he was a great cricketer in his era. He was also a man who spoke from the heart. That is probably why he criticised the Indian captain Sourav Ganguly. He was a man who was always ready to speak out his mind. Even though he was forceful, he never forced others to accept his decision. He used to say, "You have a mind to think about what I say. Find out for yourself whether the point that I have made is acceptable or not."

As far as I know, he probably had only one regret in life and this was that he failed to lead India in more than one Test. However, except for a few very emotional moments he never expressed it. Maybe, because he thought that it was useless to do so.

Finally, I would like add another of his characteristic traits which very few people are aware of. He was a very adventurous man. He regularly used to go on long drives with us. There were times when we spent whole days on the roads travelling from one corner of the country to another. Maybe it was this adventurous spirit that made him take up the challenging job of an opener.