Slinger from Salem with one eye and an iron will
CHENNAI: ’Salem Slinger’ G Periyaswamy, Player of the Tournament in TNPL 2019, has been named in the Tamil Nadu squad for the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 tournament to be played from November 8 to 17 in Thiruvananthapuram.
What makes the achievement special is that the 25-year-old has vision in only one eye. Following illness when he was a toddler, his right eye is defective. In domestic cricket or in cricket in general, examples like this are rare. Former India captain MAK Pataudi, who lost vision on his right eye after an accident, is the only prominent name that comes to mind.
“When I was around two or so, I had smallpox and lost vision in my right eye. I managed to go to a government school in my village Chinnappampatti and quit studies after Class 7. I did odd jobs, reared cattle. But watching and playing cricket gave me joy. Tennis ball cricket helped me forget the problem,” recollected Periyaswamy.
His father Ganesan was a lorry driver and now runs a tea shop, and mother is a housewife. Periyaswamy and his two brothers have been running a saree-weaving business for the last few years. Tennis ball cricket is popular in Salem and a chance meeting with Jayaprakash, a club promoter, showed him the way.
“He is my mentor. He made me fit and play tennis ball cricket. Through him I got to know T Natarajan (Tamil Nadu bowler). With their encouragement, I took part in the inter-district U-19 tournament. That was the first time I bowled with a cricket ball,” he says.
From fifth division in TNCA league, Periyaswamy progressed to the second before being selected by Chepauk Super Gillies to play in TNPL. “In TNPL I bowled with a white ball for the first time.”
TNPL has given the bowler with an action similar to that of Lasith Malinga confidence to play for the state. “Action is my strength. I can clock 135 kmph. I relish bowling at the death.”