Rahman -- a character, a scorer and a press-box must

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Kolkata, Dec 3 (UNI) He is neither Bill Frindall nor B B Mama, he is simply Sheik Abdur Rahman.

Rahman, a veteran of 105 Tests and 106 ODIs, is a scorer- statistician the Indian press box loves and hates, but can't do without. It is not only his disarming charm, smile of a four year-old and characteristic loud vocal of 'Bowling! Bolwing!' that he is known for, but also for rattling out numbers with equal elan.

An office superintendent in the Sealdah Division of Eastern Railway, Rahman is keeping the score for the 21st Test at the Eden Gardens, his home ground.

He is indeed one of the characters you can not miss in the press box, especially when he stabs the air with his forefinger, rings his red bell and shouts out a statistic about a certain score reached or a personal milestone achieved.

''I have been scoring all my lifetime and it is a great feeling when I keep scores. I get excited and sometimes angry also,'' he told UNI with an apology writ large.

And the veteran scorer-cum-statistician, has packs full of anecdotes when he is not keeping scores.

''I have always carried this red bell with me. I ring this to alert people so that they can write down the scores and statistics properly,'' Rahman said.

''I kept scores for the first time at Eden Gardens when MAK Pataudi took on Bill Lawry's Australia in 1969-70 and my first ODI was at Delhi between India-Australia in 1985-86,'' he announced with the conviction of a Demosthenes.

He started playing for Rajasthan club as a boy, but never got past club cricket. So he converted his passion for cricket into keeping scores and statistics, something that will keep him connected.

And he continues after 37 with the same enthusiasm, passion and zest carrying a set of books under his armpit and a roll of giant score-sheets in the right hand, a set of red, blue, green and black pens to highlight different sections.

''I have kept scores at all the venues all around the country, but Eden is the place to be,'' he said, with a look of a man who has so dearly loves the ground.

As a day's play ends, he rattles out the scoreboard and then culminates with an emphatic ''Thank You''.

Yes, Thank You, Mr Rahman! UNI

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