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  • 02 Aug
    Bengal v Uttar Pradesh, Calcutta, 1997-98I was aware that people were talking about my performances and how I was hyped as a big star from Uttar Pradesh about to play for India even before I made my Ranji Trophy debut. In 1996, I had been part of India Under-15s World Cup final win over Pakistan. I had played the Under-19 World Cup in 1998 in South Africa. I had made decent runs for UP Under-19s. Yet, I felt breaking into the Ranji Trophy squad would be tough and I had to work much harder.At the time, I was in the youth hostel in Kanpur, sharing a room with five others. Your reputation didnt matter there - if you were a junior, you would be ragged. One night, before the ragging session, my room-mates and I decided to turn the lights off and not open the door even if someone knocked. We hoped they would go away after seeing the lights off. Predictably in the night, there was a knock on the door. We didnt open the door for fifteen minutes. After a while, I realised it must be something important and opened the door. It was the warden, who informed me of my selection for the Ranji Trophy match against Bengal in Calcutta. We didnt have mobile phones or internet then, so the association had sent the message through our hostel warden.Soon after I was picked, I called my father from a telephone booth. He told me one thing: Remember, this is UP. To shine here, you have to fight your way through. If someone makes 100, you have to make 175. Even if you make 101, it may not be enough.The next day at training, everyone was talking about playing in Calcutta, but I didnt understand the significance. I didnt really know about the history of Eden Gardens or how special it was for an Indian cricketer to play there. So I didnt understand what the fuss was. Only before we left for the match, we were told this match was to be played at the Calcutta Cricket and Football ground.I had batted at No. 3 for most of my junior days, and so was told to bat in the same position on my debut. I remember walking out and being taunted by the opposition. I didnt understand every word of it, but it was something on the lines of Hes made runs in junior cricket; lets see what he does here. Every minute spent there was torture. Finally, I was out nicking to Saba Karim for 11. While walking back, I wondered if I would get another chance, because in UP the culture was such that if you had to work your way up the system you would get just one chance, and I had missed the chance.I was surprised when I was picked for the next game, which was a quarter-final against Haryana. Our opener Rakesh Sharma was off the field and couldnt open the batting. Our coach Venkat Sundaram went around asking the other players if they would open, but didnt get a favourable response. He was furious. I was sitting in a corner when he asked me, Chhotu, open karega?. I immediately said Yes. I went out and made a century. That made me feel I belong. Thats when I realised, however hard it was for me in the dressing room to mingle with the group, especially the senior players, you are your own man on the field. If you score runs there, it doesnt matter what happens in the dressing room.Maybe I survived my debut season because I had my elder brother Mohammad Saif also playing around the same time. So I used to feel a little comfortable that there was someone I could talk to. Musi Raza, my room-mate, was also in and around the fringes of the team. These two helped me in my debut season, because of which I became a much better player. As told to Shashank Kishore Aaron Loup Padres Jersey . 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On Tuesday, Ottawa placed forward Cory Conacher and defenceman Joe Corvo on waivers as trade rumours swirl around the Senators. PHOENIX -- Maybe Jake Lamb deserved more write-in votes as one of five NL players in the Final Vote lineup for the All-Star Game.The Arizona Diamondbacks third baseman finished fourth in the voting, but won the battle Saturday against an actual All-Star, Los Angeles Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen.Lamb later delivered another key hit that helped the Diamondbacks beat the Dodgers 2-1 in 12 innings Saturday night.Brandon Drurys single drove in Lamb with the winning run in the bottom of the 12th after Lamb had sent the game into extra innings with a tying double off Jansen in the ninth. Lamb then opened the 12th with a triple into the right field corner.Im not afraid to fail, Lamb said after a three-hit night. He (Jansen) has dominated me. I dont think Ive ever gotten a hit off him.Lamb got the triple off Dodgers reliever and losing pitcher Casey Fien (1-1).I hit it hard enough to get through. I just put it in the right spot. So that was nice, he said.After two intentional walks to load the bases, Drury laced a single through the drawn-in infield off Fien, ending the Diamondbacks five-game losing streak. It was Drurys first career game-ending hit.I was just trying to stay inside the ball, Drury said. I have really learned to focus just on the ball and not on the situation.The Dodgers had the bases loaded with two outs in the top of the 12th, but Randall Delgado (2-1) retired Yasiel Puig on a groundout to end the threat. The Dodgers stranded 15 runners on base.They still were in position to win with Jansen on the mound and a 1-0 lead with two outs in the ninth. But Lamb lined a two-strike double to drive in Michael Bourn, who had singled and stole second base.Of Lambs 63 runs batted in this season, 11 have come in the ninth inning.Dodgers starter Brandon McCarthy struck out eight in six scoreless innings. McCarthy, a former Diamondbacks pitcher making his third start since returning from major elbow surgery that cost him most of last season, held Arizona to three hits in his longest outing of 2016.Diamondbacks starter Archie Bradley allowed a run on six hits, walked three and struck out three.The Dodgers bullpen, which entered Saturday with the lowest ERA in the majors, got scoreless innings from Adam Liberatore and Joe Blanton before Jansen blew his fourth save chance of the season. Jansen had not allowed a run in 14 previous games.Diamondbacks relievers held the Dodgers scoreless for six innnings.dddddddddddd Well before that, Justin Turner drove in the games first run with a soft single in the third inning, driving in Chase Utley, whod led off with a double.The Dodgers lost a chance to add to the lead in the seventh when Howie Kendrick, who was 3 for 3 up to that point, struck out against reliever Jake Barrett with the bases loaded.The offense, we had opportunities. We just couldnt get that big hit tonight but we had been doing a lot of good things offensively going into the break and (Friday) night, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. It was just one of those nights where those guys made pitches and hung in there.Jake Lamb is a great ballplayer and he got a big hit against one of the best closers, Roberts added. We expect Kenley to be perfect. Its not going to happen.INJURED UMPIREHome plate umpire Dale Scott left the game in the bottom of the first inning after taking a foul ball to his chin. The umpiring crew went to three men, with Lance Barrett moving behind the plate from first base after about a 12-minute delay.TRAINERS ROOMDodgers: LHPs Clayton Kershaw and Alex Wood threw to live hitters for the first time in their rehabilitations from injuries Saturday at Dodger Stadium, Kershaw throwing 60 pitches. Wood threw 30 to 40 pitches, Roberts said. If Kershaw feels fine on Sunday he could pitch as soon as next week at Washington or St. Louis. Kershaw (back) has been on the DL since July 1 and Wood (elbow) on the 60-day DL since May 31. ... OF Trayce Thompson was placed on the 15-day disabled list with lower back irritation and OF-IF Zach Walters was called up from Triple-A Oklahoma City. ... OF Joc Pederson (sprained AC joint) got a hit and walked twice in four at-bats Friday night in a rehab game for Oklahoma City. Hes been on the disabled list since June 29.Diamondbacks: RHP Zack Greinke is still dealing with oblique tightness and may not be ready to make a start this month. ... C-OF Chris Herrmann (hamstring) had an MRI Saturday morning but appeared as a pinch-hitter in the 10th inning.UP NEXTDodgers: RHP Kenta Maeda (7-6) is the scheduled starter against the Diamondbacks. Maeda has a win in two starts against Arizona this season.Diamondbacks: Sunday starter Robbie Ray (4-8) is 2-2 with a 2.40 ERA in five career starts against the Dodgers. ' ' '