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Wednesday, October 7, 2015

crowd trouble at Barbati ~ when Virender Sehwag made his Ranji debut

In an Onedayer, Tillakaratne Dilshan urged  Suraj Randiv in Sinhala with the comment “oney nam, no-ball ekak danna puluwan" ( you can bowl a no ball !) with the fourth delivery of the 35th over to the facing batsman Virender Sehwag.  Sehwag did hit a six – but by a funny rule, the no ball counted first, India won and the runs scored subsequently were not considered.  Strange, for – the ball was considered but the shot off that ball was not to be !

Strange that great batsman recently played his maiden Ranji match for Haryana, having to move out of Delhi…..

Crowd trouble forced two interruptions in play during the second T20I at the Barabati Stadium in Cuttack as India slid to a six-wicket defeat against South Africa. Play was held up for more than 50 minutes during South Africa's chase after spectators, largely from one section of the stadium, began throwing plastic bottles onto the field. There were waves of bottle throwing – finally play resumed after hold-ups and after  the police had cleared the section of the crowd causing the disruption. Odisha CM  Naveen Pattnaik has ordered a probe into the crowd trouble and the OCA Secretary stated that they have decided to ban water bottles and water pouches during matches. The height of the fence separating spectators and the ground will also be increased. Odisha Cricket Association (OCA) further  reacted sharply to Sunil Gavaskar's plea for banning international cricket at the Barabati Stadium. “Sunil Gavaskar is not the authority to take a decision about venues. He is just a commentator,” they said !!

Barbati is not alone and not the first …. Sunil Gavaskar was pelted in 1984-85 at Calcutta and he vowed not to play there.  1996 World Cup Semi final was abandoned and Lankans awarded the match.  In 1999, Shoaib Akhtar collided with Sachin, appealed and had him run out – crowd erupted and last stages were played with all spectators removed out of the ground. 

In earlier days have seen people running on to the crowd ~ remember half a dozen people running to greet Gundappa Vishwanath reaching milestone in a Test.  In later days, the fence was raised and had another inner ring of fence, making it virtually impossible for anyone to scale them and enter – further police cops on duty would stand facing the crowd and would mildly lathi-charge viewers !!

Somehow not happy in reading that the swashbuckler Sehwag is playing for Haryana – the match ending in a run feast draw. Haryana made 335 with Sehwag 92 and Rana making 157.  Maharashtra made 570/6 - centuries from Ankit Bawne and Chirag Khurana ensuring  a first-innings lead for Maharashtra in their Ranji Trophy opener against Haryana in Gahunje. Only two innings had been possible in the match, with a bulk of the second day being rained out.

Possibly the most attacking batsman to play for India, Virender Sehwag made 8586 runs in 180 innings with 23 tons; and 8273 runs in 251 ODIs with 15 hundreds. The most remarkable aspect of Sehwag's career of course has been his ability to build massive scores at breathtaking speed.  Sehwag holds multiple records including the highest score made by an Indian in Test cricket (319), which was also the fastest triple century in the history of international cricket (reached 300 off only 278 balls) as well as the fastest 250 by any batsman (in 207 balls against Sri Lanka on 3 December 2009 at the Brabourne stadium in Mumbai). He also holds the distinction of being one of four batsmen in the world to have ever surpassed 300 twice in Test cricket and the only one to score two triple centuries and take a five-wicket innings haul. In March 2009, Sehwag smashed the fastest century ever scored by an Indian in ODI cricket, from 60 balls.

Today, there is an interesting feature in Cricinfo ~ an interview of Sehwag.  Incidentally, he speaks of his Ranji debut in Feb 1998 at Chepauk.  Tamil Nadu captained by Robin Singh made 473 with Diwakar Vasu making 148.  Sehwag scalped the left-handed Woorkeri Raman.  He did not get to bat as match was halted with Delhi at 183/4 – Ajay Sharma and Mithus Minhas at the crease.   Here are some excerpts from that :  Sometimes I get confused about which exactly should be treated as my first Ranji match. I made my first-class debut in Chennai, against Tamil Nadu, but didn't get to bat when the match was abandoned in controversial circumstances. So I had to wait till the next season to bat in a Ranji game for the first time, so I shall talk about both the matches.

Well, it was in January 1998 that I returned from playing the Under-19 World Cup and soon after coming back was selected for Delhi's Ranji Trophy Super League match against Tamil Nadu. Those days, Ranji Trophy used to be played on a zonal basis followed by a Super League. I had missed the North Zone league due to Under-19 camp so was excited to be making my Ranji Trophy debut, alongside some of the stalwarts who were up against quite a formidable Tamil Nadu team.

We fielded for one-and-a-half days. I bowled, I got one wicket - a prize scalp of WV Raman. Then when we started batting and I was waiting for my turn. We were four or five down, I was padded up and then something happened. On the third evening, somebody tampered with the wicket and our captain Ajay Sharma and Mithun Manhas were batting. After that the Delhi captain refused to bat on. We complained against the Tamil Nadu team that they had tampered the pitch and because of that we were not going to play the remaining match. As a youngster, I was only waiting for my turn to bat. I really didn't know what all was happening. I was sitting outside and I was talking to Mithun because he was my age and he told me there were footmarks on good-length area. He said the marks will help the offspinner, if he lands it there, he would be very difficult to face. I told him, "Why are you worried about an offspinner, just step out and hit a four or a six. Let's go out and play." He told me that it wasn't in his hands and the captain and coach would take the decision.

Unfortunately for me, Ajay Sharma and the coach, Maninder Singh Jaggi, refused to play the next morning. It was followed by the BCCI banning both the teams for the rest of the tournament, so we couldn't play any more matches that season. My dream was still a dream, I couldn't bat in the game. I was still waiting to bat in first-class cricket. This happened in February and I had to wait till October or November for the next season to start to have a bat in Delhi's whites. I played the first game against Haryana. I was still batting at No. 7 and scored a hundred in my first innings.

Great batsman ~  sad to see him out of Indian Cricket and playing Ranji

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

7th Oct 2o15

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