CHENNAI: It won’t be wrong to assume that W Antony Dhas looks a different player in the fourth edition of TNPL.The all-rounder is fitter, bowling quicker, threatened with the bat — a 26-ball 63 and a 13-ball 32 for Kovai Kings — and has two Man of the Match awards from four outings.
It wasn’t this hunky dory for Dhas last season. Just 98 runs and three wickets in nine matches, had made him a target for social-media trolls. So much so that he teared up while narrating this.“People spoke very badly about me and my family on Facebook. I was disturbed mentally. I couldn’t concentrate. I quit Facebook. I wanted to reply through my performance. My friends and family were by my side during this phase. It was hard.”
Much like this turnaround, the 30-year-old knows a thing or two about not giving up, considering that how he made his way to stardom. Hailing from a fisherman community in Kanyakumari, Dhas left school after studying till 7th, as his father suffered a injury after being struck by a catamaran. To support his five sisters, he took up his father’s trade at the age of 12 and became the sole breadwinner. “People discouraged me because I’m a fisherman. I’ve not studied enough. They said I needed to be financially well-placed to climb up the ladder. Feels nice to prove them wrong.”
Dhas’ bounce-back this season has also been catalysed decided by a new fitness regime and diet, one that resulted in a loss of 5kg. “After last TNPL, I trained extra hours at the gym. I ran more. I did beach training and lifted more weights. I also fine-tuned my technique at the nets. I have not taken rice in the last one month. I cut down on fats over the last one year; ate fish, chicken, eggs and fruits regularly. As a result, I was able to ball quicker and strike it better.”And his aggressive batting — strike rate of over 200 in this edition, with a boundary percentage of 76.77 — has been a highlight of this TNPL.
“Kovai wanted me to go hard from the first ball. They said it’s okay even if I get out, and backed me calling me a game-changer. I started practising with the aim of not just to clear the ropes, but to send the ball out of the ground. That’s why even my mistimed shots have fetched sixes in a few games.”
From playing on a matting wicket at his native place, to representing Tamil Nadu in shorter formats, to being one among the big names of TNPL, Dhas has come a long way. “It’s been a roller-coaster of a journey. Because of TNPL, I was in the IPL draft list. I bought a car and have now built a home for my parents.”
Tuti Patriots win against Karaikudi Kaalai
Coming off two successive defeats, Tuti Patriots produced a 57-run win against Karaikudi Kaalai in Dindigul on Thursday. Riding skipper V Subramania Siva’s unbeaten 87, Tuti posted 175/4. For Karaikudi, this is their fourth loss in a row.