Monday, December 25, 2006

Federer's tryst with cricket - The Hindu

by Rajesh Nair

CUDDALORE: Nobody can resist a game of cricket in India, not even Roger Federer, the World's Number One tennis player. He picked up a few tips on how to wield the willow in a game of cricket from tsunami-affected children of Chinnurpudupettai village near here on Saturday.

"When we asked him if he would play a game of cricket with us, he said that he didn't know to play the game. And so we taught him how to hold a bat and strike a ball," a beaming Prasad of Chinnurpudupettai said.

After listening to the rules of the game for a few minutes, Mr. Federer then faced 11 balls of local boy Madhan. He was beaten in the first ball and bowled out thrice in his short stint at the crease.

And in return, he gave the children cards that hadhis photograph holding a trophy. He also signed on the tennis ball with which he was playing cricket and presented it to a child. Till two days ago, the children had not heard about Mr. Federer and his game.

As UNICEF's Goodwill Ambassador, Mr. Federer was in the village to call on Krishnamurthi, whose wife was washed away by the waves. His five children are at a government-run orphanage in Cuddalore.

Krishnamurthi, who married again recently, now lives in the Tsunami Nagar, built by SOS, at Chinnurpudupettai. The Swiss tennis star visited his house, which was full of photographs of the five girls and Krishnamurthi's late wife. Mr. Federer spent a few minutes in the house. He then watched a theatre performance by the children.


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