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Indian in NBA inspires American in IPL.

by Gaurav Sethi

Meet Freckles 'Fuming' Filaccio from Murphys Village (aka Murphys Estate), the first cricketer from America in the IPL. Way back in late June, 2015, it was just another quiet day in Murphys. Freckles and his friends were idling in front of the TV when his father stormed in - “You kids better watch out or after taking over all yer jobs these Indians will take over all yer sports”. Satnam Singh Bhamara had just become the first-ever basketball player from India to be drafted into the NBA. The Dallas Mavericks had selected him with their 52nd pick.

The similarities between Satnam and Freckles were uncanny. Both were from tiny, almost insignificant villages with populations of less than a 1000.  Basketball was the last sport on anyone's mind in Punjab. Legend has it, the growth of basketball in these parts almost coincided with the growth of Satnam Singh. When he was a day shy of 13 he was already six feet tall. And that was the day when he planted the first makeshift basket – he always took his nani's advice to heart, she would often say, “Reach for the stars, Satnam, reach out for the stars”. Both cricket and hockey had fault in their stars, he was determined to start something new. Baseball was a lost cause as his friends compared it to cricket. One early morning he surfed to a Live NBA telecast. It was then that it dawned upon him why he was much taller than the others. The first basket was planted halfway up a tree. A basketball was procured from the nearest town. Satnam Singh had his friends for company but it was clear he was playing against himself. Every second day, the basket was nailed higher till it reached the tree top. Next a higher tree and then an even higher tree.

The day when his dad barged in, Freckles barged out. His privacy had been invaded. Worse, he didn't understand what his father was fussing about. It was only later when his dad sat him down and planned America's revenge that it became somewhat clear. Freckles would take on a new sport, one he had barely heard of. He was a day shy of 13, already six feet tall, and a baseball bully -he could whack it longer than even the older kids, and hurl it in faster than any pitcher his age. Cricket seemed the obvious choice for Mr Filaccio to plan his revenge.

The route to the IPL was long but completed in less than six years – from Murphys Estate to the California Cricket Academy to South Africa to Ireland to England. Still only 19 (same as when the NBA came calling for Satnam Singh), Freckles signing with CSK though not a lifelong dream had been something of a teenage wet dream. “When I was just 13, I started watchin videos of Dhoni n Raina play for CSK...changed my life it did. Dad made sure I watched Jadeja too, he always say, it's vital to know what not to do”. Overjoyed to be playing with Dhoni, he feels at 39 the captain still has 5-6 good years of cricket in him, followed by another 10-15 years of mentoring youngsters at CSK. “I just can't imagine a CSK side without Dhoni. But a few years down, I reckon Raina will be ready to lead the side”.

It has been learnt that the Mumbai Indians bid of Rs 57 crore for Freckles was disallowed as the player  did not see a future with any side other than CSK and even threatened to withdraw his name from the auctions. An exception was made wherein Freckles was sold for CSK’s last bid of Rs 55.9 crore.

“My Papa always said, ‘IPL was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.’”  - Freckles 'Fuming' Filaccio

(However plausible this might sound, this is largely a work of fiction)

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