Bengaluru, Jan 9: It was an emotional evening at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium premises on Thursday (January 8) as late cricketer Ashwath Aiyappa's book "When God Bowls A Googly - Spiritual Intelligence For Sports" was launched by his parents.
Family, friends, Karnataka's Ranji Trophy players, former India cricketers, his spiritual guru Sri M and several others gathered to pay glowing tributes to Ashwath. Voices choked and eyes went moist as they remembered him.
Ashwath, 30, a junior cricketer in Karnataka, passed away on April 17, 2014 (day of general elections) in a drowning accident, along with his elder brother Dr Akhil Kuttappa, 31 (certified Clinical Endodontist), who he tried to save from Chiklihole Reservoir, Kodagu.
Ashwath's parents Raghu and Anitha along with former India Test batsman and Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA) secretary Brijesh Patel released the book, which is about the author's personal experience in the sport and spiritual perspective to it.
Former India bowler Abey Kuruvilla, Dr. Kinjal Suratwala, former Head of Sports Science and Coach Education (National Cricket Academy), Brijesh Patel and others remembered Aiyappa and spoke about how talented he was as a cricketer and more than that a great human being.
Rahul Dravid praises the book
Former India captain Rahul Dravid has praised the book. "These are some really insightful thoughts and I am sure the book will benefit a number of youngsters. It is a sensitive topic and one that needs to be handled with care, which Ashwath has done admirably well. I must say it is wonderfully written," Dravid wrote on the cover page.
"Our sons were our lives... Life was beautiful until cruel fate snatched them both in a tragic accident in April 2014. Ashwath showed his divine quality by sacrificing his life trying to save his brother. People say time is a great healer, but the dastardly act of fate will make sure that we carry the agony of losing our exceptional children till the end of our lives," Ashwath's parents have written in the book.
"The book was to be released in May 2014, but God bowled us a googly. We are sure you will find the book interesting, insightful and useful," they have added.
'Talented and hardworking cricketer'
"Ashwath was a talented and hardworking cricketer and this book is a result of his intense experience. It introduces a dimension seldom spoken of, and ends up being a book not merely about cricket but about life," Brijesh Patel said.
Aiyappa represented Karnataka at Under-16 level and was also part of Ranji Trophy probables. He played in Karnataka Premier League T20 (KPL) in 2009, first division league for several top clubs in Bengaluru and Mumbai. He had also co-founded a software company in Bengaluru.
He studied at Lawrence School, Lovedale, Ooty and later did his Bachelor of Computer Applications (BCA) from St. Joseph's College of Arts and Science in Bengaluru. He worked for more than two years on the book but his life was cut short tragically before the launch.
The book, paperback edition, published by Magenta Press and Publication Private Limited, Kodagu. It is priced at Rs 250 is available at all book stores and also online.