Mumbai: Kevin D'Almeida is deservingly hogging all the spotlight as the Toyota University Cricket Championship enters its business end. The Mumbai University left-hander, who struck the third century of the championship and lit up Brabourne Stadium with a cracker of an innings on Wednesday evening, helped Mumbai score a record 224 for four wickets against APS Rewa University.
Wednesday's unbeaten century (117 off 63 balls) enabled D'Almeida win the Man of the Match award for the second successive game. On Monday, his unbeaten 65 off 51 balls helped Mumbai edge out Madras in a last-ball thriller and actually set up the home team with a realistic chance of clinching a last-four berth.
The 6-foot D'Almeida is winning all the kudos from the experts commentating on the TUCC. Boucher probably paid him the biggest compliment, comparing D'Almeida to Stephen Fleming, the former New Zealand batsman and arguably one of the best Test openers the modern game has ever seen.
But D'Almeida is not a Fleming fan. His idols are Jacques Kallis and Rahul Dravid. “They are my heroes,” he says, although their batting styles don’t quite match.
Boucher is happy to hear that D'Almeida is a Kallis fan. His 12 fours and six sixes on Wednesday definitely reminded Boucher of the great South African all-rounder. "Jacques would have been happy to play the innings you played, mate," Boucher said. It definitely was the best cricketing encouragement D'Almeida has earned in his career as a sportsman.