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Thursday, October 18, 2012

immensely talented Amarnath flattered to deceive - no it was not Mohinder !!

To become a Cricketer is the dream of many – to get to the top, one needs loads of natural talent, hours of hard work, persistence, tenacity, will to succeed and above all good luck.  Being connected to high places, or born to illustrious persons also helps. To break to the top echelon itself is difficult, to stay there longer is even more difficult.  History is replete with instances of natural talent getting buried along, or in some cases, able to get recognition but could not sustain that fame for long.

There was a time, when there were not many left handers – later came many including – Sourav Ganguly, Vinod Kambli, Suresh Raina, Sadagopan Ramesh, Yuvraj Singh……

Lefthanders are also called ‘south-paws’.  This term reportedly originated in US – and referred to baseball pitchers.  It is stated that the baseball parks are usually so designed that the batter faces east, so that the afternoon/ evening sun (most baseball matches are played during these hours) does not does not fall on the batter's eyes.  It is also a boxing terminology – a term describing the stance where the boxer has his right hand and right foot forward, leading with right jabs, and following with a left cross right hook. Southpaw is the normal stance for a left-handed boxer. The corresponding designation for a right-handed boxer is orthodox.

Here is something about a south paw, who bad a brilliant start to his Test Career, a century on debut but did not shine in the way, his talent should have had him.  It is Surinder Amarnath, brother of more illustrious Mohinder and son of Lala Amarnath.  It is baffling that given that fact that there were not any left-handers – none as classy as him, he had such a short international career.

Surinder Amarnath  was to make his Ranji debut when he was only 15 and played against England for Indian school boys in 1967.  He scored  a century on debut in an unofficial Test against Sri Lanka in 1975-76 and followed this up a few months later with a century on Test debut in New Zealand.  He was not too young, he was 27  when he made his debut at Auckland against the New Zealand.   In fact in his last ODI innings, he made 62 against Imran and Sarfraz. Sad he never played again donning Indian cap.  Some reports have it that he was a  natural right-hander  made to adopt the handicap of batting left-handed.  He scored 16 tons in his  First class career.

This flamboyant batter who could hit the ball hard, played only 3 One dayers – all in that tour of 1978 – making 31,1 & 62.   The 3rd One dayer which was to be his last played on 3rd Nov 1978 was forfeited – yes Bishan Bedi conceded that match in protest against blatant Umpiring decisions in failing to call wides.  

It was to be a 40 over a side affair – Pak made 205 with Asif Iqbal topscoring with 62; Majid Khan with 37 being the second highest.  Kapil Dev, Venkatraghavan, and Mohinder took 2 apiece.   India made 183 in 37.4 overs; 23  to be made in 14 balls with 8 wickets in hand – Bedi had to react as Sarfraz kept bowling bouncers and short pitched ones beyond the reach and 4 of them continuously were not called wides.  Bedi realized there was no point in continuing and angrily conceded – which could create a great furore in modern time but went unpunished that day.  Chetan Chauhan and Anshuman Gaekwad had opened the batting – Surinder departed at 163 making 62.  Gaekwad with 78 and Gundappa Viswanath with 8 were at the crease – with Mohinder, Kapil, Ghavri, Bharat Reddy, Venkat and Bedi to follow – when Bedi took that decision to concede the match.  
Remember reading about the Test in ‘The Hindu’ and partially hearing commentary in the mornings of January 1976 – the Test at Eden Park, Auckland, when India won handsomely.  Kiwis were led by Glenn Turner, a legend those times.  Playing first they were all out for 266 with Chandrasekhar taking 6/94. 

Sunil Gavaskar was to lead India in the absence of an injured Bishan Bedi.  Gavaskar made a patient 116 and was over taken by Surinder Amarnath who made a fine 124 with 16 fours and 1 six.  Mohinder coming late down the order made 64 ; Madanlal’s 27 and Prasanna’s 24 swelled the score to 414 in 121.7 overs – yes 0.7 not a mistake – those were 8 ball overs.  BE Congdon took 5/65.  In the second, NZ were to be bowled out for 215 with JM Parker 70 and BE Congdon 54 resisting.  Erapalli Prasanna had a fine spell taking 8 wickets for 76.    Surinder took 2 catches – the reliable Gavaskar ensured successful chase of 68 remaining not out with 35.

Alongside Surinder – Kirmani and Dilip Vengsarkar were to make their debuts and went on to play much longer than Surinder did.   Both went on to have longer stints, though such recognition eluded the abundantly talented Surinder……… life offers too much of difficulties for some; some have to endure pain and make great efforts even to make little imprints, while for some  lesser mortals, things are bountiful, all flowing on their own.

Now there is another prospect of continuance of Amarnath's legacy-   Surinder Amarnath's son : Digvijay Amarnath, another left hander.  Whether he would make the cut, only time can reveal !!

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

1 comment:

  1. Digvijay Amarnath surely is a very talented batsman. Many have seen and acknowledged and just like his father Surinder Amarnath, he too has the ability to destroy the best of bowling attacks when in full flow. Exposure and Experience will take this young lad a long way.