Hyderabad: It’s very rare for a father-son duo to emerge champions in their respective categories in the same tournament.
It happened in the Netplay closed Telangana State Squash championship with father Gangashetty Arvind Kumar, a former Hyderabad Ranji Trophy opener, winning the men’s singles 45+ title while his son, Gangashetty Dhruv Kumar bagged the boys’ under-17 honours on Wednesday.
“It is a nice feeling to win titles in squash after enjoying cricket in the early part of my career,’’ said the 47-year-old left-handed opener. That he took to squash after cricket was basically to keep himself fit as this game demands a lot of running and physical agility. “When I was in England playing professional cricket, I started this game as it gave me a lot of fitness. Squash is a fast-paced game and it saps your energy. As a result, it helps you in improving your fitness,’’ said Arvind, who has been playing squash for the last ten years after retiring from first class cricket in 2004.
Arvind took to serious squash in 2008 and in his first tournament, won the 35+ title at the age of 34 years in the Secunderabad Open. “That was the big motivating factor to continue with squash. As I continued to play local cricket leagues, it helped me to play squash. I was also a badminton player in school and that `racket’ touch came handy.”
It is here that one of the coaches told him to participate in the Nationals and Arvind straightaway participated in GSM tournament in Bengaluru and finished runners-up in the over 35 category.
Squash has given him a lot of peace, he said. “Cricket is all about discipline and team spirit while in squash it is about individual excellence,’’ said Arvind, who has three centuries from 43 first class games. “My knock in Ranji Trophy against Kerala was the best. It was in Kochi where I played the first ball and was the last batsman to be out. I scored 141 in a low-scoring match but unfortunately I could not carry the bat for the team. It would have been an unique record for Hyderabad.’’
Winner of five titles in the State squash championship, Arvind has won two 35+ Nationals twice (2005 and 2007). “I was once ranked third in 35+ senior Nationals. Thanks to squash, today at 47, I am still able to play cricket for Canara Bank and this season I slammed three successive centuries. Squash is good for cardio-respiratory as it is a fast game,’’ he said.
Meanwhile, Dhruv played cricket for a few years before switching over to squash three years ago. He participated in the under-17 tournament and ended up as runners-up in 2019. “This is my maiden title and I feel great that my father and I have won titles in the same tournament,’’ he said.
Dhruv, an intermediate first year student of Tapasya Junior College in Lakdi-ka-Pul, said this tournament win has given him the confidence for bigger tournaments. “I aim to play in the Nationals and my father plays a huge role by giving the finer tips,’’ he said.
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