Secret of Balaji~~s smile- Doctor~~s scalpel!

Published: Friday, May 14, 2004, 23:53 [IST]
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New Delhi:The secret of Lakshmipathy Balaji's ever-smiling face lies in the doctor's scalpel! The bowler, whose ever-smiling countenance won him a huge fan-following in Pakistan, has revealed that a surgery on his jaw gives the impression that he is forever smiling.

"I had a jaw surgery when I was very young," said the affable Tamil Nadu bowler in BBC's Face to Face programme to be telecast on Saturday.

Balaji also recalled how fans in Pakistan sang a song on him -- 'Balaji zara dheere chalo' -- evoking laughter from teammates in the midst of the One-day match in Rawalpindi.

"From the crowds they were shouting that song. It was quite nice to hear the song, everyone started looking at me -- my teammates and all, they all started laughing."

And Balaji, who had a remarkable tour of Australia and Pakistan, admits that his popularity has seeped into his own homeland where girls make phonecalls, write letters and press for his autographs.

But the lanky seamer admitted that despite his past performance, adulation and popularity, his place in the national team was not secure.

"There is too much competition in this game. You have to work hard, you have to prove your worth in the team."

He still finds it hard to accept his transition from the "naughty boy" to being the "star of the neighbourhood" but is enjoying it all after days of wilderness in the early part of his career.

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