Remember the broad shouldered Romanian, who’s awkward bowling action made him a cult hero and whose efforts in popularising cricket in his country, purely because he loved the game, earned him a lot of respect?
Pavel Florin, the 40-year-old who was first ridiculed and then adored, loves all sports but says cricket is his sport. His mission is to bring cricket to Romania.
“It’s about the adrenaline,” Florin is quoted as saying by The Cricketer. “It’s that adrenaline when you are in the field, it’s the adrenaline you get when you’ve got the bat in your hand, it’s the adrenaline you get when you’re bowling. You don’t know if your bowling is going to go well or not go well; you don’t know whether you’re going to take a wicket or not take a wicket.
“It’s about that feeling of adrenaline when the ball is coming in the air and you have to catch it. This is it. It’s that adrenaline – you want more and more of it.”
— Fox Cricket (@FoxCricket) July 30, 2019
Florin, currently in London watching some of his favourite players in the ongoing domestic T20 tournament, has faced his fair share of mockery, some from very opinionated Indians as well.
“I like every sport. This was something I wanted to try. I had an opportunity and I tried it.
“I met some Indians, they let me bat, they told me I was a very good player, a future national team captain. It was a lie but I liked this lie, so I continued this sport because it is different. I play many sports, but I remained in cricket because this sport is for me. This is the sport for me.”
When his bowling action went viral, a local newspaper reported he had ‘something’, while the likes of Shane Warne tweeted in support. It resulted in sleepless nights for Florin taking in the adulation.
Florin is a national champion in both futsal and American football, and has played cricket for eight years by which time it became his favourite pastime.
Florin would drive through his homeland, picking up his teammates en route to the tournament – it was a 10-hour drive.
“My good part is fielding and my good part is batting. Not bowling. I didn’t show the world what I was capable of. My bowling – everyone has seen it. People have said that it is not good, that it is not proper. But nobody hit me for a six. Nobody.”
At the time of the competition, it emerged that Florin had been playing through the recovery of a fractured leg. It further increased the warmth of the cricketing world to this unusual inspiration.
“I don’t like speaking about this,” he says with the requisite steel of someone in his profession. “I am a man. I am a bouncer. I’m not crying. I can’t do all that I want to, but it’s not something [to cry about].”
For Florin however, the dream is cricket in Romania and his visit to England is one where he intends to learn the nuances to take back to Cluj Cricket Club where he is the President.
“I have come to see a match and then I go to see some small clubs and learn how the management and training work. We need to show Romania what cricket is. The players who play in Romania are strangers – Indians, Pakistanis.
“The authorities don’t give us money to play cricket. I have to pay everything. I’m the president of the club, but me and the players pay everything – transport, accommodation, meals. We don’t have sponsorship in this country because nobody cares about cricket. They don’t give money because it’s not a popular sport.
“I earn about 400 euros per month. I have come here and spent 700 just coming here – it’s expensive.”
Florin however is not scared or worried and is working with all his enthusiasm to fulfill his dream.
“I don’t know where I will find this money, but for sure I will find it somewhere,” he says of his desire to build a ground in his town.
“It is my dream. And if it is my dream, I will put anything into this.”