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Thursday, May 3, 2012

Chang, Gatting, Mohinder ... Lamba - Injuries on Cricket field

Sunil  Manohar Gavaskar  was a great opener and arguably a batsman endowed with best defence. He  amassed runs during his playing days, now is a very canny commentator.  Yesterday in the pre-match footage – the match between Kings XI Vs Royal Challengers at Bangalore [2nd May 12] spoke of the best managed cricket stadiums in India being Bangalore and Chennai.

He said that the fans here are most well-mannered and if one is asked to wait for a few minutes either for a photo or autograph, would ungrudgingly wait without disturbing whereas elsewhere they would deem it a right and demand.  He said he was happy to see lot of youngsters turning up and felt that one day, some of them might represent India or go on to play for a club in IPL.  The love for the game lures more youngsters – in India, Cricket is not just passion, it is a religion.  Those watching the name and fame of IPL League would do anything to promote their kids dreaming that their ward also plays one day for a club.

But the rise to fame is never easy – it requires relentless hard work and lot of luck coupled with that determination to succeed.  In India, there is a proper system – most come through the ranks, thought there would always be some extra-ordinary who would bypass others to succeed.  If one is good, at a young age, one might play for school, city schools, University – perhaps in the lower league to break into a team in the top draw – play  for the State, Zone and the best amongst them play for the Nation, and fewer still survive to be at the top.

Battling the red cherry hurled at great speeds can be troublesome and can cause body blows – that can be very painful.  By throwing oneself  trying to prevent a single or chasing a boundary, one can hurt self – some unfortunate could get hurt even when watching, just as a little girl had her nose fractured in a Gayle six in a recent match at Bangalore.  

In the 1978-79 Series, when West Indies toured India under Alwin Kalicharran, at Chepauk, Herbert Chang  (ever heard of him !) was left with a bloody mouth.  Chang, of Chinese origin was a left hander played a solitary test – in the second essay, Karsan Ghavri’s bouncer hit him, he was injured, fell on the stumps and was out hit wicket.  

There was a time when Lloyd let loose his battery of Holding, Roberts, Wayne Daniel on Indian batsmen at Sabina Park  as a backlash after the defeat at Port of Spain.  The  Fourth Test at Kingston – Test no. 776 on 21 – 25th April 1976. The score card would read India 306/6 decl !! ; WI 391 all out. India 97 all out and West Indies making the 13 runs required without losing a wicket. Statistics will never reveal the real story.  WW Daniel made his debut in a bloody test, where Indians were intimidated with crowds calling for blood.  Indian  batsmen suffered nasty injuries trying to take evasive action. The short pitched bowling was over done and Holding from round the wickets caused most damage to the bodies of Indians.  The bespectacled Anshuman Gaekwad was hit all over his body and remember the gears were not so protective those days.   He  was forced to retire bleeding in his ears;  Brijesh Patel  was hit on the mouth - that was the test when one player after other had to be escorted to hospital with bleeding injuries. Bedi & Chandra did not bat for the second time and with 5 batsmen absent hurt – it was recorded that Indians were all out for 97.

Mohinder lost his teeth on the ground during 1983 series also but went on heroically to hook Holding for more sixers.  Krish Srikkanth had once to return midway after fracturing his right hand to a rising delivery from Ian Bishop.  Tour to WI was often one feared for injuries as Mike Gatting who had many stitches on his nose would vouch for.  Sometimes Cricket rivalries extended as Dennis Lillee bouncing, injuring and leaving Miandad dizzy even in a friendly charity match at India.  

In his debut series, Sachin was injured and batted with blood and rose to eminence.  There are very many other stories but one of the most harsh one was that of Contractor and the worst being that of Raman Lamba.

Nariman Jamshedji "Nari" Contractor was left-handed opening batsman whose international career  ended abruptly by a serious injury.  In 1959 at Lords, he had two ribs broken early in the first innings by Brian Statham, despite which he scored 81. Contractor led India to a series win against England in 1961-62 and captained the side to West Indies the same season. There, in the match against Barbados, he ducked to a short ball from Charlie Griffith which failed to come up. Contractor took a blow at the back of his skull and was unconscious for six days. That ended his international career.

Raman Lamba was a real dasher with good scores in domestic Cricket and good knocks in the inaugural Asia Cup at Sharjah.  Remember him playing a sweet knock at Chepauk against the likes of TA Sekhar, L Siva and Venkat.  He was playing club cricket at Dhaka when he was hit on the forehead by a full blooded pull by Mehrab Hossain off left arm spinner Saifullah Khan while fielding at forward short leg, without a helmet.   He suffered an internal hemorrhage and slipped into coma, eventually died after 3 days. 

Sad to hear about these injuries

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

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