A city boy whose room is a sport museum

FANSPACE

  • Published 4.12.17
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Shashvat Kumar, a St. Xavier’s Collegiate School student, at his Ballygunge residence.

He’s chatted cricket with Pele, advised Jose Mourinho to sign Paul Pogba and remembers every date when he met his sporting heroes. Meet Shashvat Kumar, a 17-year-old sports memorabilia collector, who’s a proud owner of 15 signed bats, 12 jerseys and over 420 signed photographs... and counting. 

THE KICK OFF 

I was five when I had a chance to meet Kapil Dev at an event organised by EO (Entrepreneurs’ Organisation). I had heard a lot about him from my dad so I took my bat with me and got it signed. I kept it in my room, didn’t think too much about it. Then gradually someone gifted me one small bat with an autograph, then another.

THE POWERPLAY

In 2011, when India were playing West Indies in Calcutta, Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, V.V.S. Laxman and Gautam Gambhir had come down to a relative’s house.

I went there with an India team jersey and got their autographs and that’s when I really started collecting memorabilia. It was also when I had just started taking cricket seriously and I had thought they would take just a second to sign the shirt but they spoke to me at length... they were really nice.

He met Pele when the football legend came to the city in October 2015. “He asked me which position I played in. I told him goalkeeper.... He said, ‘Why do you play as a goalkeeper? You should be a striker and score goals like me!’” said Shashvat. “We also spoke about cricket and he wanted me to explain the rules to him.”

SLOG OVERS

In 2016, I found a guy on Instagram who would get addresses of international footballers, send letters and ask them to sign stuff. 

So that’s when I started doing that myself. I mostly sent photographs to Manchester United players and the first reply I got was from Sir Alex Ferguson! I was thrilled. I also started participating in random challenges online and winning here and there. 

Also I got to meet quite a few international sporting icons because of Indian Premier League and Indian Super League. 

Sporting heroes next on his bucket list:

• Cristiano Ronaldo 

• Lionel Messi

• Diego Maradona

Text: Rwitoban Deb
Pictures: Arnab Mondal

CLUB SANDWICH 

Three days of fun at The 1st CSC Cricket Premiere League, with The Telegraph

CSC Rockers, Imperial Reds, Men in Black, Neotia Challengers, Sangkaj Blazers and Sobisco Smashers made the line-up of The 1st CSC Cricket Premiere League presented by The Calcutta Swimming Club in association with The Telegraph. Held from November 24-26 at the Strand Road club’s giant swimming pool, 10 players made up each team and fought it out over seven overs each. 

(L-R) Team Neotia Challengers — Ronak Mehta, Anjaney Sonthalia, Ashwin Modi, captain Vedant Saraf, co-owner Suyash Poddar, Ayush Mehta, Shrivats Singhal and Harsh Vardhan Agarwal — were all smiles after their 23-run win against Men in Black. “We feel really good... it was completely unexpected. We won three matches in the league and now the finals! If I am in Calcutta next year, I will definitely take part,” said Harsh, who was also the Man of the Match in the finals.
A great win calls for big celebrations — out came the champagne as Team Neotia Challengers went yay!

 

 

Text: Urvashi Bhattacharya
Pictures: Gopal Senapati

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