Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Tirumalai Echampadi Srinivasan is no more

Sometimes talent alone does not take one to the top – this would be a story of a man possessing enormous talents but denied the opportunity at the right moment, for no fault of his.

At Adelaide at the time of draw of  stumps Australia, chasing 375 runs to make England bat again, was 238 for four.  This morning they  folded before lunch  adding another 66 losing the remaining 6.    Spinner Greame Swann was the unlikely hero with a 5 wicket haul.  A margin of an innings and 71 runs is devastating.  Andrew Strauss has Aussies in pressure not to repeat their loss of 1986-87.

At Bangalore, Kiwis play India after losing 8 matches in a row.  The two teams have so far played 86 matches after the first fling in the Prudential WC in June 1975.  India has won 44 and lost 37. In some ways, Kiwis would know this suave player well.  Record books would suggest that he represented India in a solitary test against New zealand and two One dayers – with lesser success – but that would be grave injustice to his abundant talents.    TE played his only Test against New Zealand making his debut at Auckland in Mar 1981.    He played in two one dayers – debut against Aussies and another match at Kiwi in the 3 nation B&H series in 1980-81.

Tirumalai Echambadi Srinivasan, popularly known as TE is no more.  He was born on 26th Oct 1950 and breathed his lost yesterday (6/12/10) after battling brain tumour.  Cricket during the 1970s and early 1980s was not a different ball game but information and news of cricket were far different.  In the National scenario, he was touted as one of the best talents equivalent to the likes of Gundappa Vishwanath with a square cut as blemishless as Vishi’s was and wristier pulls and glances.  He was a much more aggressive player than anybody else of his time and was classy. 

In late 1970s Indians had not exactly learnt the art of playing ODI and for the WC – Abid Ali was pulled up from nowhere to open.  When India were to tour Down under in 1980-81, talk was about the lean aggressor Krishnamachari Srikkanth.  Remember a huge team of ours had pooled money to buy tickets and watch the Deodhar Trophy match between West Zone and South Zone  at Chepauk (a premier one day match – a rarity those days).  West had always been a strong team having the likes of Gavaskar, Vengsarkar, Sandip Patil, Ghulam Parkar and more.
Almost the whole crowd had come to watch Srikkanth succeeding and getting selected for the tour down under.    In the first few overs, when Cheeka was denied the strike, the crowds were even heckling TE.

Things were to change later – all of us saw an innings of a life time – a brilliant 129 by TE carting all the bowlers with disdain and with great cricketing strokes.  He was powerful on leg and caressed shots on the off.  It was a total of around 270 + which in those days was a matchwinning one.  TE was indeed selected for the 1981 Tour.  He was a backfoot player with grace and elan peppered all over and could play the pull shot with same ease and confidence as he played his square cuts.

On 6th Dec 1980 at Melbourne half of Indian side were new faces with Kirti Azad, Binny, Dilip Doshi, Sandip Patil and TE making their debuts.  TE opened with Sunny and outsurvived him against the likes of Dennis Lilllee, Lenny Pascoe, Graf and Lawson. He scored only 6.    Patil made 64, India mustered  208 and could bowl the mighty Aussies all out for 142.   His next chance came on 10th Jan 1981 against New zealand when he scored 4 getting out to Jeremy Coney this time.   On a juicy track, Richard Hadlee went wicketless but Indians were  totalled poor 112.

In the tour that followed,  he got a chance in the Third test at Auckland in March 1981.  He scored 29 in the first essay and 19 in the second; which could neither justify his selection nor his ouster thereafter.  Unfortunate that this swashbuckling talent oozing cricketer could not make his delectable square cuts in international arena.  

What is here within “ ………. ” – were all hearsays which we in those days firmly believed to be true.
“ “  that Gavaskar not only played great innings on the field but held more control off it.
South Indians read Tamilnadu players would never make it to the National level, only because they were not liked and they could not communicate in Hindi.
Gava had a special disliking for TE – for he was very loud mouthed.

-          the following were attributed to TE during that tour
upon landing TE told reporters ‘tell Lillee that TE has come’
in a match when TE opened with Gavaskar, the latter made a straight drive and told his non-striker that fast bowlers had to be played that way.  The next over saw TE striking back so clean and straight that the ball passed before the bowler could complete his action.  TE walked down majestically to his partner to tell him that this is the right way.
He threatened Yashpal that watching girls through binoculars was an offence and even mocked an arrest by a Police officer.
- that he could play two different shots for similar balls””

Perhaps his was an era when statistics and money were not the aim but purists looked for the pleasure of neat cricketing shots, which TE displayed in abundance.  He could annihilate and demolish the best of bowling attacks on his day.  His judgment, roll of wrists and the delayed late cut were all marvels.

He played for India Pistons and drew huge crowds even for league matches.  In many ways he was the earlier (more refined version) of Krishnamachari Srikkanth.  In First class career he socred 3487 runs in 75 matches with an average of 34.18 – which still do not exhibit his innate talent properly.  He was chosen as one the 5  Indian cricketers of the year in 1978.

He also played club cricket in Yorkshire league and have read that the
Former England batsman Michael Athertons autobiography ‘Opening Up’ has a mention about Srinivasan.   TE Srinivasan,a swashbuckling batsman from Madras,also played for us. He was everything that Wettimuny was not wild, aggressive, and totaly unorthodox .He was a stalwart for Tamil Nadu,in India,for many years and went on to play one Test and two One-Day Internationals for his country. Many years later I asked Sunil Gavaskar about him and he told me he would have played much more had it not been for his low-caste status, Atherton wrote.

Sad that TE could not sparkle brighter and sadder that he is no more.

Regards – S Sampathkumar.

6 comments:

  1. TE is back!!!! his soul is with me... i knew little about cricket.. i am confident,, given a chance i will be TE.......Cricket and timing is my blood...

    Regards,
    +91 9538333346

    ReplyDelete
  2. he is my own uncle.. u must have heard about about TV mohan,, who is my father... i am his son..... give me a chance if u trust TE.....

    Vijay
    09538333346
    Bangalpt

    ReplyDelete
  3. i can bowl and bat with both hands....

    Trust me ....

    ReplyDelete
  4. TV mohan is only brother of TE

    ReplyDelete
  5. TE is within me,,, enada ithu boring cricket.....

    ReplyDelete