Once upon a time in IPL with Pune Warriors
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While the spotlight was on the match between Pune Warriors and Kolkata Knight Riders today, far away from the IPL action, in Nadwa Sarai village in Azamgarh district of Uttar Pradesh, left-arm seamer Kamran Khan harvests his wheat crop, wearing the uniform of his team — Pune Warriors.
With the Pune franchise not requiring his services this season, the 21-year-old was sent home, after being paid Rs 10 lakh. Kamran, who made a name for himself as the Rajasthan Royals' mystery pick in 2009, now fears that he may soon be forgotten.
Not so long ago, Kamran was hailed as the "next big thing" by none other than Shane Warne, the then captain of Rajasthan Royals. That was before the on-field umpires reported him for suspect action during a match against the Chennai Super Kings in 2009, just a few days after he marked his presence on the field with a tremendous ability to generate speed.
While the Royals retained him the next year, he was picked by the Pune Warriors in their maiden season in 2011. He played only one match then, and none in 2012.
"That's when the taunts began," says Kamran. From being invited as chief guest to every event in his village, the cricketer has now become an easy target.
"It's almost like they were waiting for me to fall," he says. "Not many people here understand cricket. They now tell me how useless I am, and how my career is over because I chuck."
At first, the taunts hurt. "Now, I've learned to ignore them. Instead, I spend my days training for a comeback in the mornings and evenings. During the day, I work on my brother's farm, keeping to myself, away from the rest of the villagers," says Kamran.
"Earlier, I used to work on the farm only," he says. "But I had to stop a few years ago as I was busy with cricket."
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