By Nita Balani
MISSISSAUGA: The evening was a magical one surrounded by cricket fans here in Toronto who gave their favorite all-rounder Robin Singh a warm, straight-from-the-heart welcome.
He was invited by Arun Kumar Lyam, Director of the Robin Singh Cricket Foundation Canada.
Surrounded by loving fans, the audience was treated to an audio video presentation of some of his many glorious moments on the field as Arun Kumar alerted the young budding cricketers to watch and listen carefully to the subtle plays on the field.
This is part of Arun’s cricket initiative which he started when he teamed up with his buddy and close friend Robin Singh way back in 2009. Their mission is to introduce the game to a whole new generation of Indo-Canadians.
The presentation was followed by a speech by Dipika Damerla, MPP of Cooksville. She welcomed Robin Singh to Ontario and talked about how his contribution is important to the youth of Canada not only in the field of cricket but outside the game as well.
She complimented Robin Singh on his exemplary attitude as a sportsman and said it should be adopted by today’s generation not only on the field but in any area of their life in order to be successful.
This tenacious all rounder, Robin Singh, has saved India on numerous occasions in the face of defeat on the field. His calculated gutsy pressure play brought the Indian team from the jaws of death in so many matches over his career span. He never gives up until the last ball is bowled and plays fearlessly even though the odds are stacked high against him.
As a bowler he was a right arm medium –fast and his bowling strategy was used effectively to cut off valuable runs of the opposition in numerous games. And even greater were his talents to cut off boundaries and dive in to take the most impossibly angled catches without fearing injury to his body.
His motto has always been “Never focus on the result……just focus fearlessly on the task ahead of you and trust yourself and your plan and you will succeed “.
His style and attitude towards cricket is the same as the way he faces life – fearlessly and head on. He says it best when he says that cricket is like life – you must face it fearlessly and aim high for success.
During the question answer session, Robin stressed that importance of attitude is everything in cricket and the fact that you have to have focus, determination and dedication to the game and one must forget about any politics or ego issues that invariably creep in.
Robin Singh also said in jest it would help a lot if you get support and tolerance from your significant other/partner as he himself spent a lot of time away from his wife due to his dedication to the game.
Robin said he admired his wife for staying by his side and being his best friend and critic and who helped see cricket from the Indian perspective as he had grown up playing in West Indies and approached the game from a different angle at first.
He also attributed his success not to one mentor but to many great cricketers like Viv Richards, Andy Roberts, Kapil Dev, Sachin Tendulkar, and many others, including his two uncles.
Asked whether Sachin Tendulkar’s retirement from cricket would leave a big hole and its impact on IPL Mumbai Indians, he said Sachin would still continue contributing to cricket and felt that there already was a new breed of budding cricketers who would step up to the plate to bring new victories to the team.
On his personal landmark of completing his half century mark, he was asked whether his best moments have been on the field or off the field in the coaching camp. He replied in his quiet confident tone that he had good memories of his playing days.
However, he said just as you approach another phase, you need a new game plan; he has been equally satisfied coaching and helping create new players to have the right attitude, mindset, focus and discipline to the game of cricket. Let us not forget that this is the only man who made a successful comeback to cricket after being away for seven years. And that time was the hardest for
Robin to stay motivated and return with a renewed tenacity and determination countered by none.
Robin Singh retired from official cricket in 2004 but maintained his athletic form and passion for cricket alive by effectively coaching cricket teams.
His coaching skills and tips have formed a new band of budding cricketers eager to get into the game seriously.
Robin Singh is also coach to the Mumbai Indians – IPL team. His passion for cricket is apparent even though he reaches his own half century this year.
Robin Singh tirelessly works and devotes his time to getting Canada and the US back into cricket as a serious sport for the youth and we are just beginning to see great positive results on the field.
The evening ended with three lucky members of the audience received personally autographed memorabilia by Robin Singh and some great Calypso and dance performances in true West Indian style.
(Nita Balani lives in Mississauga)