Kenya`s Mishra enjoys passage to India

Updated: Mar 08, 2011, 19:52 PM IST

New Delhi: Tanmay Mishra has only faint memories of his family packing their bags and leaving Mumbai for Kenya in the early 1990s but cricket and education ensured the tie with India was never really severed.

Mumbai has served a dual purpose for Mishra. In Sachin Tendulkar -- the city`s favourite son -- Mishra found a role model. He also attended college in India`s financial capital to gain a management degree which should come in handy in the future.

After Monday`s half-century against Canada, albeit for a losing cause, the 24-year-old Kenyan middle order batsman has all the more reason to ponder how kind India has been to him.

"My family migrated in the early 1990s, dad has got a business there, but our initial upbringing was in Mumbai," Mishra told Reuters in an interview before the match.

"I was 5-6 years (old) then. I remember I was very fluent in Marathi, even mom says so. I still understand it but that`s it," he said it, corking and uncorking an energy drink bottle absent-mindedly at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium.

"I did come back for my business management course in a Mumbai college, then went back to Kenya and started working hard on my game."

No surprisingly, Mishra looks up to a Mumbaikar for inspiration.

"Obviously I grew up idolising Sachin, like so many others. Everyone likes him," he said.

"Among the Kenyan players, it had to be Steve Tikolo, one of the best cricketers (to come out from non-test playing nations).

"I also like to watch (Virender) Sehwag, who is so explosive. Sachin and Sehwag are the players I like to watch batting."

Sehwag was considered a Tendulkar clone early in his career but Mishra said he only drew inspiration from the Indian stalwart and never tried to ape him.

"I didn`t try to model my batting on someone. You can watch someone and imbibe them but at the end of the day you got to be yourself. Everyone has their own ability and strength. I trusted mine."

Mishra is somewhat sad that Kenya would not get to play India in the group stage and they are not expected to proceed further.

"When you come to this part of the world, you expect to play against teams like India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh. It does not get bigger than this.

"We did play Sri Lanka and got an idea. We would have liked to play India but we have to wait I guess."

Bureau Report