Dehradun, Nov. 22 -- Altered State

I never excelled at a particular sport. I made it to my middle school basketball team, I was a liability as football goalkeeper in class six and, in class seven, I came second in a swimming race comprising just three. I took a few horse-riding lessons but was too afraid, ironically, of the majestic beast named Nazakhat (finesse) I was saddled upon. In high school, I tried my hand at cricket and volleyball and found, refreshingly, that the former suited me far better.

That I captained my college cricket team owed more to my ability as a man-manager than sporting skill, and even today the club cricket team I lead has players far better than me.

If there are two sports I took to with ease, they are long-...