From a cricketer to an ardent fan, lawyer to administrator, Shyam Sharma has come a long way in his life. He eats, sleeps and breathes cricket. In his exclusive Interview with Crictoday, he poured his heart out about the efforts being made by Delhi Cricket Association to take cricket forward in the state. Here are excerpts from the Interview…
What are your earliest memories of playing cricket?
The love for the game started in 1983 when Kapil Dev scored a magnificent hundred against Zimbabwe in the World Cup. That was the time when I started watching and playing cricket.
What will DDCA do to take the Delhi state team to new heights?
Delhi Cricket Association is working as a unified body to take the sport forward in the state. Our apex council, selectors, physios and trainers are putting their best efforts to bring back the glory days. There was a time when Delhi had five or six players in the national team. We want those days back. The vision of Rohan Jaitley Ji is clear. He does not want to compromise on transparency, honesty, and our President is making sure to provide the facilities and infrastructure to get the best out of the players.
What is DDCA’s plan to provide the best facilities to cricketers?
We are thinking of developing an indoor facility for the state cricketers. Delhi Cricket Association has put up new lights, and the gym has world-class equipment. We have told our players to inform us about the type of facilities they need to give the results on the field.
Let us talk about women’s cricket. What steps are you taking in the short or medium-term to expand in this field?
We are keeping women’s cricket at par with men’s cricket. The apex council has set an agenda of taking women’s cricket to new heights.
We are in 2022 now. Could you briefly explain what the next two years of DDCA will look like?
The future looks promising as we have invested in 8-9 players from U-16 and U-19 age groups. Look at Yash Dhull, the U-19 World Cup-winning captain. Rohan Jaitley has personally looked after his progress in the last one year.
Would you like to see people like Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag at DDCA?
We are in regular touch with these two, and they have been forthcoming with suggestions on improving the level of cricket. They are there to serve Delhi Cricket.
Is there a role for player association in DDCA?
DDCA has a player association, which has two designated members. They come from the players’ quota. Tilak Raj and Anjali Sharma ma’am are like a bridge between the DDCA and players.
What is your take on players coming out and speaking against the BCCI? Virat refuted Ganguly’s claims, Saha also spoke against him.
These things had happened in the past. Remember, Navjot Singh Sidhu left the England tour and returned to India. It was one of the major controversies that hit Indian cricket, and the statement made by Saha is just an incident. Saha got a bit impatient as Sourav Ganguly was trying to motivate the player to keep performing for the team, and no injustice would be done to him until he was there. Ganguly can never assure Saha about his place as Rishabh Pant, KS Bharat, Sanju Samson, and Anuj Rawat are better than him. Saha should realize that his era has ended, and he should retire instead of making allegations against Sourav.
What needs to be done to set the house in order?
It is everyone’s responsibility to maintain the decorum. The BCCI should not be held accountable as players are mature enough to know where the line ends.
Is the expansion of IPL to 10 teams good for cricket?
The expansion is good for cricket as it will take the sport to different parts of the world. The game should be allowed to expand its wings. The game started with a few teams, and we still have a few countries dominating the horizon. I feel the leagues in different parts of the world should get recognition and let cricket go globally. Every state in India deserves to have a team in the Ranji Trophy. Divide them into two groups and allow the premier red-ball competition to flourish.
Which is your favourite IPL team and why?
I support Delhi Capitals in the Indian Premier League. Prithvi Shaw and Rishabh Pant are my favourite players, and I love watching these two playing in the tournament.
Any memorable incident related to the league
I once stopped Shah Rukh Khan from smoking at the DDCA. He was here for an IPL match as the Kolkata Knight Riders’ co-owner. I firmly told him to refrain from lighting another cigarette considering the law against smoking in a public place.
Who have been your favourite cricketers?
Do you get bored watching cricket?
That is not going to happen in a lifetime. I am addicted to cricket and can watch small series as well.
What is your success mantra?
Be honest and do not run away from hard work. One should be very clear about the goals in life.
If you are given a choice, you can change your career by going to the past. What would you choose?
I would love to be a cricketer. I have been a part of the Delhi league for several years, but the lack of guidance and financial issues did not allow me to excel in world cricket.
Does Shyam Sharma watch movies? Who is your favourite actor, and which is your favourite movie?
I love watching Aamir Khan’s movies.
Let us do a fun session.
I will say an individual’s name, and you need to say the first thing that comes to your mind about the person.
Rohan Jaitley – Intelligent
Arvind Kejriwal – Perfect Politician
Virat Kohli – Aggressive Young Idol
MS Dhoni – Cool like a cucumber
Shah Rukh Khan – Smart
Amit Mishra – Unlucky
Shahid Afridi – Passionate Soul