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Cricket Artist Dr. Sen with Chinmoy Roy

Some cricketers, besides playing the sport, were proficient in other walks of life. England’s W.G. Grace, the quintessential father of cricket was a regular medical practitioner.

Dr. Ali Bacher of South Africa played at the highest level and afterwards became an administrator or repute. Then Dr. Justin Vaughan played six test matches for New Zealand in the 1990’s.

On the other side of the story is a medical practitioner from Kolkata who never played the game but visualises it and its illustrious characters. There is a cliché in cricket - let the willow talk. For Dr. Jayanta Sen it is his coloured pencil and pastels that talks. Without having the original photograph in the vicinity, Dr. Sen simply visualizes an Ian Botham or Sachin Tendulkar. The pencil just follows his imagination. This gives birth to a sketch which makes both Ian Botham and Sachin Tendulkar blink.

Dr. Sen’s drawing room wall is a journey through the legends of the game. The autographed sketches of the cricketers make one wonder whether these are camera pictures. His sketches apart, Dr. Sen also collects cricketing artefacts. Some of them are absolutely rare and collector’s delight. Dennis Comptom’s Brylcream advertisement, the Cricket preamble signed by Ted Dexter speaks for the man’s wisdom on the game and the ability to grab the unconventional artefacts. His perseverance on tracking former England wicketkeeper Allan Knot from England to Cyprus, where Knot was on a vacation reveals to what length he can go once he zooms on a collection.

The cricket corner in his son Arjab’s living room is flooded with artefacts that lead to down memory lane. Leary Constantine’s picture is autographed. A Jamaican Dollar has Frank Worrell’s picture embossed on it. Narrating an amazing story Dr. Sen says, “Curtley Ambroses’ mother liked Ray Lindwall, the Aussie fast bowler of 1940-50’s. So she named Ambrose as Curtly Lynwall Ambrose. Every time Ambrose took a test wicket her mother would ring a bell. It was a message to the villagers that Curtly has taken a wicket. The picture of Curtly’s mother with the bell is in the wall being autographed by none other than Ray Lindwall himself”

A nose for sensing the right place ensured Dr. Sen tracing many artefacts. Sunil Gavaskar’s letter to the then president of Indian cricket board written right from a hotel’s room in Barbados during India’s historic series win in 1971 is one such. Talking on another interesting story Dr. Sen says, “After sketching King Pele’s portrait I was long waiting for his visit to India. Finally when Pele came to Kolkata it was next to impossible to reach the man amid huge crowd and security shield. Then it was my 10 year old son Arjab who literally sneaked between the legs of the security and got the precious autograph on the sketch.”

It is his son Arjab, who he wants to grow into a quality cricketer. Dr. Sen is ready to walk any distance for grooming his son. Arjab has already got into the U-16 state Bengal probable’s list. On behalf of Cricketworld I convey the best wishes to Dr. Sen for his endeavour.

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