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A cricket nut, golfer Daniel Chopra won't miss a ball of Ind-Aus series

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By Qaiser Mohammad Ali

New Delhi, Nov 25 (IANS) Swedish professional golfer Daniel Samir Chopra, born to an Indian father, is a cricket nut of the top order and always watches India matches live from around the world. And he is not ready to miss a single delivery in India’s upcoming matches in Australia, and will watch matches partly live and recorded, from his home in Orlando, Florida.

Since the time difference between Australia Orlando is massive, whenever India tours Australia, Chopra, 46, watches the first session of play and records the rest and watches it immediately after waking up in the morning. To know the end-of-play score, he relies solely on the recorded video.

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“My plan is as always to watch the matches live. If the timings don’t suit then I will record them and watch ASAP [as soon as possible]. Usually, in Australian Test matches I can watch the first session and go to bed during the lunch break and record the rest and watch it first thing in the morning, taking care as to not log on to any news that may have the result posted,” Chopra told IANS from Orlando.

For example, the time difference between Orlando and Sydney, venue of the opening T20 International on Friday, is 16 hours.

A Virat Kohli fan, Chopra discusses cricket on the golfing greens as well, since there is no one to talk about the game in his family.

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“Nobody in my family watches cricket; I am a lonely fan. The only time I get a chance to talk about it is with some of the Aussie and South African golfers when I see them out on tour,” revealed the alumni of New Delhi’s Modern School, Barakhamba Road.

A year before Chopra turned pro in 1992, he, as an 18-year-old, sat all alone at New Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium and watched Ravi Shastri and Sanjay Manjrekar score centuries against South Africa in November 1991, though India lost the day-night encounter. It was South Africa’s first official tour on being readmitted to the official cricket fold after the apartheid was dismantled.

Chopra, who has won nine international golf titles, has watched Indian team’s matches in Australia as well. “I have watched very few. I watched India play at the Gabba (Brisbane), and at the old stadium in Perth. I can’t remember what years that was, but I also watched them play at the Melbourne Cricket Ground,” he said.

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Chopra wishes to see Shubman Gill play all three formats.

“As for my favourite player is Virat Kohli — I think, as he is everybody else’s as well. As for a player, I would love to see in the team, perhaps batting at No.4 in all formats, is Shubman Gill. I’m also a fan of Jasprit Bumrah and would also like to see Navdeep Saini play a more regular role in the Indian team,” he opined.

On India’s prospects in the upcoming encounters with Australia, Chopra feels the hosts look stronger in the Test series as Steve Smith and David Warner are back.

“I think that it will be close in the One-day Internationals and Twenty20s, but I’m afraid Australia look much stronger this time around with the return of Smith and Warner and the form of Marnus Labuschagne. Also, with India not having Kohli for the full series, it will be tough. Pujara hasn’t played in months. I think our top order could potentially be fragile,” he said.

Among cricketers, Chopra is not friends with any present Indian cricketers, though through golf he knows a few.

“I don’t really know any cricketers that are currently playing, and those I know are more acquaintances, such as Kapil Dev and Murali Kartik,” he said.

–IANS

qma/kh

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