GALLE, Sri Lanka - At the Galle International Stadium, the players’ family enclosure is just to the left of the Media Centre. On the first day of the last Test, it certainly was a hive of activity with many of Proteas’ relatives present to catch some of their loved ones in action. One man, though, who could not find rest was Athmanand Maharaj.
Father of Proteas spinner Keshav Maharaj, Athmanand was either glued to every ball his son delivered or pacing around at the back. It seemed like he lived every moment of the left-armer’s spell. Having counselled those in the know, it seems like this is how it’s been since the moment Keshav was old enough to bowl.
“My dad has always been my biggest fan and critic,” Keshav told Independent Media. “It was nice for them to come out and support me on my first tour of the subcontinent. It is always good to have a mental break after a hard, long day in the field. Just chat about different things, sometimes you need that down time.”
Whatever Maharaj senior and his son chatted about over dinner seemed to have the desired effect for Keshav turned around an indifferent display in the first innings to claim 4/58 in Sri Lanka’s second innings. It wasn’t enough to prevent the Proteas from succumbing to a 278-run defeat, but it provided the tourists with hope that their first-choice spinner was beginning to adapt to the conditions.
“I didn’t have one ball under my belt (before the first Test). I was sick for the warm-up game. Luckily I pulled it back in the second innings. We know our ability to bounce back. There were a lot of positives to take (to Colombo),” he said.