Help A Cricket Writer Fight Cancer Again | Milaap
Help A Cricket Writer Fight Cancer Again
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    Sidhanta Patnaik

    from Bangalore, Karnataka

An open letter to all cricket lovers

Dear Cricket Enthusiast,

You could be a celebrated international cricketer or someone who mostly scores a duck in gully cricket. You could be someone who loves the game deeply and wakes up at 5 am to watch the first delivery of a Test. You are possibly someone who follows the game only occasionally and doesn't mind catching up with the score or watching the highlights. You might be someone who doesn’t so much like the game, but buys tickets for an IPL match for their friend or sibling only because they love it. In whichever part of the player or fan spectrum you are, you probably realize that there are a number of lesser known and equally valuable voices in cricket, outside the world of the celebrities, the Kohlis and the Dhonis. This is the world of women's cricket, domestic cricket, divisional cricket, and differently-abled cricket. These games might not have many spectators and the players who play these matches might not have many fans, but the players play it with great zeal and preparation, and produce intense and inspiring cricket. There is one cricket writer who has made unwavering contributions to understanding the game at the grassroots level and promoting these lesser known voices.
His name is Sidhanta Patnaik - an accomplished cricket writer and a passionate student of the game. Sidhanta has written for the Wisden Almanac, Wisden India, and Cricket Next, among others. His stories on Jammu & Kashmir cricket in 2013-14 lays bare the strife and struggle of J & K cricketers and administrators alike, his interview of Greg Chappell in 2014 provides an insight into the mind of Chappell, the psychoanalyst, his piece in the aftermath of Jagmohan Dalmiya’s demise take us into those days when televised cricket first captured the attention of the entire Indian audience, and his open letter to Mithali Raj and Jhulan Goswami in 2017 celebrates the presence of two very strong women in the game of cricket. His depth in analyzing the game and his knack of tracking stories that are often overlooked by others is well known among his peers. Perhaps the hallmark of his authorship is not so much in who he writes for, but who he writes about. Everyone worships the rising sun, but Sidhanta’s pieces fight for the underdogs, the strugglers, those who don't always win but always fight, never giving up - to give them their due place in the annals of cricket history. His writings celebrate the grind and exhaustion, not the fluff and fancy of the game. A list of links to some of his work is presented at the end of this article. In the last couple of years, Sidhanta has worked on a couple of definitive books on women's cricket which are in the final stages of publication.

Over the years, behind this stupendous portfolio of work, Sidhanta has also been fighting another battle on the personal front. In 2011, having just returned after completing a management course at Sheffield University (UK), Sidhanta was diagnosed with synovial sarcoma. After undergoing, first surgery, and then radiotherapy to remove an 8 cm lump from his throat, Sidhanta lost his voice box but not his voice. The fighter that he is, he trained himself to use a prosthetic larynx to speak, returned to work, got married, and became a father, never complaining about his medical condition. He also became a public speaker, motivating other cancer patients and creating awareness about the disease. In 2018, the cancer made a come back, this time in the lungs, and metastasized in the brain. Having undergone further chemotherapy and radiotherapy, Sidhanta still maintains a positive attitude and continues to fight. Some of the medical reports related to his case are provided at the end of this article.

The whole ordeal has physically, mentally, and financially drained him and his family. Sidhanta needs to urgently go through further medical procedures that require funds. We are a group of friends, well wishers, colleagues, ex-colleagues, schoolmates, and general acquaintances of Sidhanta who are trying to raise funds to help him. If you have read this far and consider him someone who definitely deserves all your help, please donate as much as you can. No amount is big or small, each contribution helps fight the disease. We sincerely appreciate your contribution and kind gesture to make a difference in someone’s life.

Links to some of Sidhanta's work:

Other links:
Sidhanta’s personal stories are here and tweets @sidhpat.
You can find him on Facebook here.

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