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Tragedy Cut Short Career of Bengal's Avik Choudhury

Catastrophe – must be the apt word to relate to the destiny of Winston Davis, the former Caribbean fast bowler who could break into the formidable West Indies team of 80s, playing alongside Malcom Mrashal, Andy Roberts, Michael Holding and Joel Garner.

A freak fall from the branch of a tree inside a church. The height was a mere eight feet. Shockingly, this led to Davis becoming a Tetraplegic in 1997. Yes, a fall from just eight feet. Since then Davis’ life was confined to a wheelchair.

While international cricketer Winston Davis suffered the cruel fate post retirement, Bengal’s little known promising all rounder Avik Choudhury’s speeding car hit a road divider, swiveled in the air and thudded into a low grass land in 2009 when, at 24 his career was just blossoming. Avik was unconscious after the accident. After three days of intense battle for life, Avik regained consciousness. The doctors said that he could survive because of his exceptional physical fitness. There was a near fatal haematoma in the lungs. But his cardio-respiratory system was so well conditioned from training that his lung could withstand the impact of such a lethal injury. Before the good news of Avik regaining consciousness could sink in, came the bolt from the blue. Avik is paralysed from waist down which is termed as paraplegia.

The stat says Avik played 7 first class matches, aggregated 205 runs and claimed 8 wickets. There were 13 List A matches beside his name. However, this humble stat is never a true reflection of his potential. This boy was an absolute stalwart in the BCCI’s age group tournaments. Avik played for Bengal in the Ranji trophy sharing the dressing room with the former Indian captain Sourav Ganguly. His fitness was of of top drawer and I can vouch for that as I had been his fitness coach since his U-19 days.

Avik was bull headed in challenging the impossible for four long years. He would soldier on with the painstakingly grueling hours of physiotherapy till 2013. Then realizing that the harsh reality has to be accepted this inspirational boy moved on at his own pace. He has got a solid support in the form of his wife Alokananda Das, who has transformed his very perspective to life. Avik is now into coaching. Flaunting his bicep he wheels into the net and instructs his wards on how to keep a high elbow or rightly land the front foot while bowling. This ‘never say die’ lad also appears in the motivational platforms as a speaker.

On behalf of Cricketworld I pray to almighty that Avik keeps inspiring the society with his undaunted spirit.

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