At Uppal, a test of loyalties for Baba

IF ever there was a case of a man torn between profession and passion, this was it. The media in-charge at Uppal, Dr RN Baba, or Doc as he's popularly known in press-boxes around southern India, remained focused on the proceedings of the India-New Zealand Test. Every now and then though, he would steal a glance at the television screen beside him.

His eyes light up each time either Wasim Akram or Ian Chappell showered praise on a certain Baba Aparaijith, but he doesn't let the disappointment of the batsman's dismissal show on his face. By the time, India U-19 neared Australia's total, however, Baba had moved closer to the screen, capturing the final moments of the final on his smart-phone. Who could blame him? This was after all a moment of glory for the entire nation, not least, the Baba family. It was Aparajith's man-of-the-match winning performances in the quarterfinal against Pakistan and semifinal against New Zealand that had gotten India into the final after all. And miles away from Townsville where the party had just begun for the all-rounder, at the Uppal Stadium, his father sat beaming.

Baba's schedule had been frenetic over the past week, waking up at 4.30 on match-day mornings, watch his son in action and then get things in order as media in-charge at Uppal. He's not been the only Baba following Aparajith's performances keenly. Another day, Baba Indrajith older than Aparajith by 40 minutes would have been there alongside his twin brother in Australia.

"He was in the probables but just missed out. Like his brother he's an all-rounder too. And scored loads of runs in the U-19 circuit last season," said Baba.

The disappointment of missing the bus never affected Indrajit, dishing out a nightly dose of advice to his twin brother in Australia. "Inder is like the man of the house. Everyone listens to him. And he's been on the phone every day telling Appar what exactly he needs to be doing. Both are mature boys, but Inder takes everything in his stride. He's doing very well for the Tamil Nadu juniors," added Baba.

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