Our first and foremost question before we decide to do anything in life.
Let's see and find out the story of ABHI. "The journey of Abhi who wants to fulfill his dreams with the Icelandic Cricket Association. The obstacles were many, but he wasn't ready to give up on any". No one will believe in your dreams if you don't believe in them. No one would have believed 50 years back that Test cricket would be played at night. Every day I think of one thing only - what can I do better, and most importantly, did I learn something new for the future? I always thought of Iceland Cricket from my heart. I took this on as the biggest project of my life. I assumed four years would be sufficient, but sometimes you never have enough time.
When I started with Iceland Cricket, we had:
A few white polo shirts
A couple of hundred kronur in the bank
A kit bag which had almost zero cricket equipment
AB Chauhan interview:
Define Iceland Cricket in one sentence?
Bunch of decent village level players who are doing their level best to grow cricket in Iceland.
What are the upcoming challenges for Iceland Cricket? If any, how do you feel you overcome those challenges?
We need more kids for the future of Iceland Cricket. I think we have to do more training courses in schools.
What's the biggest drawback of cricket for Iceland?
It's a complicated sport to explain to new people. I sometimes feel some people play for years and don't even know the game rules well.
Any regret with Iceland Cricket?
We couldn't win any single trophy in an international tournament. That is the only regret in my time with Iceland Cricket.
Your most significant achievement in life?
I like to shy away from personal gratification as a person, but I am pleased I came up with the idea of taking Iceland Cricket to the next level. It was only possible with everyone working together.
Your next upcoming project?
I am starting an online educational institute for students in the hospitality industry and it will be free of charge. I am looking for sponsors at the moment.
Your biggest inspiration quote.
The quote goes to my father," You have the ability to change the world but in which way will always depend on you".
Who do you look for inspiration in life? Why?
Any mother to their kids. They are the most unselfish person in the world. We always think before "What's in it for me?" but they NEVER.
One golden tip for people from you.
NEVER STOP LEARNING
What comes to your mind after hearing this? ONE OR TWO WORDS ONLY.
Best Iceland Cricket Batsman: Dushan Bandara
Best Iceland Cricket Bowler: David Cook
Best Iceland Cricket All-Rounder: Keenan Botha
Best Iceland Cricket Fielder: Derick Deonarine
Best Comedian in the team: Double SS. Sathiya Rupan and Sadun.
Best Iceland Cricket Coach: Darren Talbot
Best Iceland Cricket Upcoming Player: Sebastian Dyer
One thing about Iceland Cricket that is a secret: No one has taken a 5 wicket haul yet.
Pressure: I love it
Retirement from playing cricket: Maybe by 35
NEW PROJECT : The Restaurant Academy
SCRIPT OF THE MOVIE ABOVE
Much before an idea is born and a plan leaves the execution table, before thoughts are transformed into reality, even before a brick is laid for the foundation, when a deal becomes a contract; one question almost always reverberates constantly in the mind’s cortex ... “What's in it for me?”
Perhaps, this question appears on top of every list before we initiate anything in life. Don’t you see it, “What's in it for me” flashes in mind’s eye vividly even if words are held prisoner between the lips?
Every dream begins with a vision; much like every cascading accolade begin with a whisper...
We are here to talk about someone who dared to dream of reality that very few dared to perceive. We are talking about a bloke who is very popular among the Icelandic cricketing circles, or should we say has been entwined deeply in the circle he helped create?
Yes, we are talking about AB, Abhi, Abhishek or by whatever name Abhishek Raj Chauhan is popular among his friends and co-initiators of the game in Iceland.
This is a story of a young man who rode his Arctic dream and set out to carve a niche for himself in the fledgling Icelandic Cricket Association.
Of course, he did not imagine a path without the nettles and thorns, but in spite of several obstacles that stood ruggedly tall like the Icelandic mountains, the young man continued his strife and strived to endeavour reality to his vision.
Life is a constantly changing prism and perspectives never remain the same, as different eras herald in change unimaginable decades earlier.
Many of you may by now have now realised that change is the only constant in Iceland and making predictions, may it be about people or weather, may solely be at your own peril. And before we initiate the narration of this tale that dwells on the wonderful journey that has yet to reach its destination, kindly permit me to welcome you to enjoy the breathtaking locales and sights of this amazing land of fire and ice that perhaps no other country can match.
Over half a decade ago, when the idea germinated among a few cricket aficionados, the gentleman’s game was introduced at Klambratun Park, where a few die-hard cricket enthusiasts converged under the eager eye of Anil Thapa. These were early days and yet, those entwined in the game managed to conjure a desire that would help initiate, grow and build an Icelandic cricket team.
Unfortunately AB’s debut was not as spectacular as the enigmatic Northern Lights, as he got hit in the eye in the very first match, while fielding at silly mid-on. Of course, he feels silly thinking of the moment and how he could have converted it into an amazing catch, had he not been fascinated at the batsman’s footwork, instead of keeping his eye on the ball.
There was laughter all around and many still recollect that moment when a floored cricketer nursed a sore eye, while the team burst into peals of laughter. But AB still remembers that this was also the moment he was hit by a surging thought of making Iceland cricket big, to put it on a stage it had never ventured before. “Let’s try” were the exact words exchanged between AB and Jocob on that day.
So began the hunt for a place to practice and after an arduous search, Sporthusid was selected to be the first training centre, where players converged on weekends and braved the elements to sow the seeds of cricket in this amazing Arctic region.
THINGS I LEARNT:
A chain is as strong as the weakest link! This was the formation period, the period of growth that saw each member getting a specific role in the team. This was the period that witnessed the emergence of crafty spin bowler David Cook; baking brothers, Lakmal and Dushan Bandara; the smooth-talking former Essex League stalwart Nolan Williams; the big-hitting South African, Keenan Botha and fleet-footed Guyanese batsman, Derick Deonarain.
This was also the year Iceland hosted four touring teams, including the US team Columbia, Galah from Australia, Carmel from Wales and the Scottish team Dollar. The growth was so spectacular that by the end of the year there were sufficient players for the formation of two teams. That year Kópavogur beat Reykjavík by seven wickets and won the first domestic series 3-2.
THINGS I LEARNT:
HEALTH IS IMPORTANT
Health is Wealth. Health is crucial in our life. I was trying to juggle too many things at once. I was covering 4-5 positions in the BOD.
Our first tour was supposed to be Hungary, but it got cancelled as there were not enough people for the tour. I tried to push the envelope a little too early. The golden tip given by mother in childhood. “Patience is also a form of action.”
2016: The game grows!
Kópavogur continued its winning run and won the Sophomore series 3-2. This year also witnessed a visit from a team from Mastor (England), as well as debuts from the mild-mannered accumulator, Leslie Dcunha and the pinch-hitting wicket-keeper, Brendon Fernando.
This was also a historic year, as it heralded Iceland's first international debut, when the team participated for the six-nation competition to Czechia for the Pepsi Cup. This international club tournament also included teams from Austria, Qatar, Sweden, Switzerland and Czechia. Nothing spectacular happened for Iceland, but players were content and ensured that they were not placed at the bottom of the group.
THINGS I LEARNT:
Put your own money
Never just give money to a player as we can't see who needs it or who not. Some of the BOD people gave their money to players.
Night time practice
The 2017 season began with Reykjavík avenging the previous years’ series defeat, with a 3-2 margin, before the national team played a total of 18 matches, winning ten and losing six, with one draw and a tie. Iceland cricket team’s second international tour was to the UK in 2017, with friendly matches in Bedfordshire and Berkshire. Later, a three-match series against Elstow was drawn 1-1, with the first match being a thrilling tie.
During that time, Iceland cricketers were the guests of the Eton Ramblers and had their first, and to date, their only experience of a timed game, where they grittily batted out 33 overs for a well-fought draw.
Later that year, visits by four English clubs followed, which included Allez Les Bloggers, Hackney Village (against whom Dushan Bandara hit a magnificent 127 from 45 balls, which still remains an Icelandic record), Antelopians and the Authors.
This year also saw the entry of Kit Harris, the team's remarkable publicist and strategist, who attracted over a million krona in sponsorship and international media coverage on the BBC, ESPN and Vice.
Iceland visited Chechia again this year for its third international tour, again for the Pepsi Cup. This year the club teams from the UK, Russia, Czechia, Iceland, India and Switzerland participated. Iceland again was placed fifth. The highlights of the tournament were the discovery of Iceland's most successful pace bowler till date, Sadun Lankathilaka and the team's first specialist leg-spinner, Prabhath Weerasooriya. The tournament also saw two whirlwind centuries from Derick Deonarain.
Things I learned:
We decided to start playing games at night as it became more convenient for the players to play at night.
People can misunderstand you
Players sometimes don’t understand what the BOD is trying to do for them. It creates a big gap. We decided to reduce it by having more team events.
2018: Exposure, experience & excitement!
The fourth annual domestic series between Kópavogur and Reykjavík was renamed the Volcanic Ashes and Kópavogur returned to its winning ways with a well-fought 3-2 margin.
The year also saw the formation of Íslensk Premier League (ÍPL) - a six-a-side tournament played between Reykjavík, Kópavogur, Seltjarnarnes, Garðabær and Hafnarfjörður. Eventually Garðabær, captained by Derick Deonarain won the tournament.
In 2018, Iceland's fourth international tour was to the UK for matches against the MCC, the Club Cricket Conference, the Authors and a Rest of the World XI captained by the former New Zealand international Iain O'Brien. The tour concluded with Iceland's first ever international match, against Switzerland at St George's College in Weybridge. Iceland scored 330 for 7 in 50 overs, with Dushan Bandara hitting 134 from 105 balls. Switzerland was skittled-out for a paltry 115 in 27 overs.
That year also witnessed Iceland's fifth international tour, again to Czechia for the Pepsi Cup. This time around with invited club teams from the USA, Bahrain, Czechia, Iceland, India and Switzerland.
And even though Iceland displayed better spirit and form, they ended up being fifth in the six-nation tournament. The highlights of the tournament were Dushan Bandara's bllistering 84 from 38 balls against the Mad Dogs and Sadun Lankathilaka's 4 for 13 against the Royals.
?Things I learned:
People will talk but not the walk
Some members will just talk but don’t do any work. You need to learn how to find the right people for this cricket club.
No short messages
I learnt how to type properly as I was writing a short message in the chat group. People don’t have time to read small messages. It’s better to type one long message which covers everything.
The time limit allotted by me to Cricket is OVER but I DON’T WANT TO GIVE UP YET.
The fifth edition of the Volcanic Ashes was held and this time Reykjavik prevailed 3-2. The ÍPL-2 was held in mid-summer, which was won by Reykjavik.
This year the visiting clubs from the UK were Captain Scott Invitation XI, Sutton Benger Cricket Club and Wessex Old Boys Cricket Club.
2019 was also the golden year and will go down in the annals of Icelandic cricket history, as this was the year when the club’s first cricket ground was opened at Hafnarfjörður by the Prime Minister of Iceland, Katrín Jakobsdóttir in May. With the opening of this ground, considered as the world’s northernmost cricket ground, all home matches are now played at this venue.
Towards the end of the year, Iceland played their first international tournament and finished fourth. This was also the year when introductory cricket courses were introduced in school. New members, Ólafur Briem, Sathiya Rupan, Abdur Rehman and Denis Patel, joined us on our cricket journey.
All good things come to an end and Abhi, with a feeling of accomplishment, since he took over the Icelandic Cricket Association in 2015, felt it was time to hand over the reins to others, who he hoped would also tirelessly work towards the further growth of Icelandic cricket.
THINGS I LEARNT:
REVENUE BY RAFFLE
Most local companies won't be interested in giving you cash if you are new, but they will be fine in providing you with a coupon.
Ask about the performance of the Association and tour. I don’t know if they are going to use it or not. I gave them the idea.
In 2019, I stayed on the board for a selfish reason. Only a few people knew about it. I wanted to learn how to be a groundsman, but at the last moment he backed out. I tried my best by watching different videos regarding it, but it was way too much.
We still have a lot of things to learn but my journey with the Icelandic Cricket Association is over. I hope you understood my intentions.
Well, life is a journey and lessons are learnt by all who traverse its path. Abhi too learnt many things from many people, specially from the Board of Directors.
Lee Nelson: A great Leader
He is also one of the most influential people in Iceland cricket, from whom he learnt the art of setting up a strong base and following goals.
David Cook: Perfectionist & workaholic
He is easily the best BOD member according to Abhi, who not only ensures that the job is well done, but also in time. He often lets his work do the talking.
Nolan Willaims: A smooth talker
Abhi believes Nolan could sell an igloo to an Eskimos. He showed why expression matters and taught a few things about voice modulation and presenting things in a better way.
Samuel Gill: Cool as a cucumber!
A sailor by profession and he knows the importance of keeping calm and ensuring that everything is smooth.
Kit Harris: The Twitter King
He taught Abhi about the significance of social media in our lives and why making sure that you have proof of everything in life is important.
Lakmal Bandara: Passionate cricketer
He bleeds cricket and is considered an ultimate team player. A baker by profession, who starts work at 3 am and yet finds the time and energy to enjoy the game. Of course, he’s loved also for all the stuff he brought along from the bakery.
Leslie Dcunha: Calm & composed
Not many have seen Leslie angry or displaying abundant emotions during the games. Abhi often tries to emulate him, but once on the field his efforts are in vain.
Olafur Brien: Age no bar!
Very few have improved their game so much in such a small period of time.
Darren Talbot: Practice and be Practical!
In October 2019, while playing the first international cricket tournament, Darren taught Abhi how to improve his reflexes by throwing tennis balls at him. He also taught him to have a practical approach to the game.
Dushan, Keena, and Derick: The Three Musketeers!
Abhi just loves watching them play cricket and believes Iceland’s cricketing future depends on them. These are players with special skills and Abhi is willing to pay money to watch them play.
Jakob Robertson: The adventurer!
Abhi acknowledges Jakob for his firm belief and commitment and is keen to learn this art from him.
Three mistakes made by Iceland Cricket which your team should avoid:
In the early years, we followed the system of people voting for someone without asking the person. It’s easy to say ‘’YES’’ but difficult to work. This was our worst time.
What we did to rectify it: We asked people to put their name forward instead of people voting.
We had two bank accounts, a main one in Iceland and a second in the UK. The money was spent from the UK account without board permission and I felt this person overspent on some things. Don’t want to go into detail here.
What we did to rectify it: We closed the bank account in the UK but it was opened again for fundraising purposes.
How do you measure pain?
I will tell you this in a small story. We have salt and sugar. How will you judge which is sweet or salty by just looking? Everyone in life has pain. We can’t judge who is in need.
BOD decided to make it better by giving money to players in loans instead of for free.