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Boy who plays cricket, writes cricket

As Calcutta waits for the Knights to shine at Eden for a third successive time on Saturday, a group of Delhi schoolboys are busy with their own version of the game. And telling their story is a Class VIII boy and his father.

Vivek Bhattacharjya, 12, teamed up with daddy Joy Bhattacharjya, himself a part of the IPL journey, to write The First XI: Junior Premier League (Puffin, Rs 199).

Junior Premier League is the story of Neel Roy, a 12-year-old boy who lives in Gurgaon, and his friend Aryaman. The father-son duo create an underdog in Coach Colonel Satyajit Sinha. The man with a limp, famously known as “the golden boy of Indian junior cricket coaching”, is reminiscent of Shah Rukh Khan’s Kabir Khan in Chak De!

Making cameo appearances in the book are Virat Kohli and Chris Gayle.

Metro spoke to the young author and his daddy about the book, IPL and more...

How did you get the idea for the book?

Vivek: It all started when my dad told me Puffin wanted us to write a story on young cricketers. It wasn’t too difficult for me. Dad did not know how a 12-year-old thinks and, I on the other hand, just needed to see the world from my angle. I observed my friends and how they play their cricket.

Joy: Vivek was the one who came up with ideas for the plot. He plays the game himself. So he would tell me how the characters should go about doing things and I would incorporate them into my writing. We worked as a team and it was fun.

Vivek: I think Dad did a pretty good job, filling up the holes I forgot to fill. He is the main reason the book is good. I just gave the ideas and he had to write all of them down in his own words properly. It was a long process. Thank you, Dad!

Which character from the book do you think is the most like you?

Vivek: Neel. He thinks the way I do and I would’ve made the same decisions as him. Only, he is a batsman and I am a bowler. That’s about the only difference between me and Neel Roy. We even resemble each other in physical appearance!

Joy: Neel is named after two very special persons in my family. One of my two sons is a child with special needs and his name is Neel. Also, the maiden name of my ailing mother was Shukla Roy. So, this character is very near and dear to Vivek and me.

Your favourite cricketer?

Vivek: I don’t have a specific favourite player, but you just can’t not like Gautam Gambhir, can you? I mean, three half centuries in three matches isn’t bad, is it? Also Robin Uthappa has been very consistent. And what can I say about Manish Pandey and Suryakumar Yadav? They are so good. Everyone in this IPL, I guess, is very good. After all, they are playing professional cricket.