Wearing the colors of India’s world-champion national cricket team, Indian Consul General Ajit Kumar had some explaining to do when he approached home plate at Turner Field July 31.
The Atlanta Braves honorary captain for the evening, he congratulated the team for its recent string of victories but also took the time to put the experience in cross-cultural context.
“I told them who I was, what I do, and then I told them that we have this game called cricket,” he told Global Atlanta. “They were very nice, very positive.”
In India, cricket is more a way of life than a game for die-hard fans. Spread by the Brits during imperial times, it’s an ancestor to baseball that never took off in the United States.
It has lived on, however, in other former British colonies.
When posted as the ambassador to Zimbabwe, the former British Southern Rhodesia, Mr. Kumar captained the Indian Embassy team and has led teams for the foreign ministry in other parts of the world. Before coming to Atlanta, Mr. Kumar was India’s consul general in Frankfurt, Germany.
When he was younger, he was more of a bowler (similar to baseball’s pitcher), but he’s honed his skills as a batter as he’s gotten older, he said.
The Braves have started swinging their bats better of late, which showed in the 9-0 romp over the Colorado Rockies under Atlanta skies that seemed to miraculously clear before the game began.
Perhaps Mr. Kumar’s prayers had something to do with that. He didn’t want rain to spoil his second Braves game of the year and his first appearance as honorary captain.
Arranged by consultant Mark Pierson, who has helped many Atlanta diplomats experience the Braves, the Georgia Indo-American Chamber of Commerce hosted a reception for the consul general at the 755 Club before the game, with many attendees sticking around to watch the Braves win their third straight over the Rockies.
For more on cricket in Atlanta, read: Atlanta Stakes Its Wickets for Diamond Jubilee.