Even as cricket fans worldwide are busy soaking in the World Cup, Tom John, a priest with the Catholic Church in Jharkhand, chose the occasion to quietly add another stamp to his collection.
John, a philatelist, is also passionate about cricket and his collection speaks volumes of his passion for the game.He has in his collection more than 50,000 stamps spread across 186 categories, with the ones on sport, especially cricket, standing out.“I started off as an amateur stamp collector and later on realised its true value and decided to build my hobby into a full time enterprise,” said Tom, who was in Bangalore on an assignment.
Stamps celebrating Sachin Tendulkar’s achievements, Muttiah Muralitharan’s world record of 700 Test wickets, Sri Lanka’s World Cup victory and Vivian Richard’s 50th birthday form part of his collection.|Also in his album, you can find stamps commemorating the feats of greats like Clive Lloyd, Ian Botham, Imran Khan, Sir Richard Hadlee, Wasim Akram, Allan Border, Steve Waugh and Kapil Dev. Sadly, there is no stamp from the Indian Postal Department marking the World Cup, though this country has hosted the event three times, he said.“Even though cricket is considered a religion in this country and Sachin Tendulkar our demi god, we haven’t brought out any World Cup cricket stamp. Even this time our Postal Department missed out on a great opportunity,” he said pointing out that even little-known countries like Guinea-Bissau and Easdale Island have brought out stamps featuring Sachin Tendulkar during this World Cup.He also showed off with pride stamps released to celebrate 10,000 Test runs by Sunil Gavaskar by small island nation St Vincent and Pakistan’s World Cup winning moment featuring Imran Khan. Tom also has in his collection Indian stamps featuring Bishen Singh Bedi, Col C K Nayudu, Ranjit Sinhji, Vijay Merchant, Vinoo Mankad and D B Deodhar.
Even though cricket is not big sport in Afghanistan and Malaysia, these countries too have brought out stamps celebrating the feats of other nation’s cricketing legends. Tom also has stamps on football, volleyball and other world sports.