Thursday, December 27, 2012

India Vs Pakistan ~ dazzling century by Srikkanth at Eden Gardens


A report on India Pakistan match when I have vowed not to post anything on the present Series between India and Pak.  Yes I still remain committed.

This is almost 25 years ago ! ~ of the real dazzler – Krishnamachari Srikkanth, whom I adored and followed fanatically.  Hours before or even days before the match would start our talks and expectations on Srikkanth succeeding in a match.  He was unconventional, not so consistent ~ still ended up making …. 4091 runs in One dayers and 2062 in Test Cricket.  He made 4 centuries at which point, he was the one with highest no. of centuries in One day for India – far cry when Sachin retired with 49 one day centuries under his belt. 

Srikkanth made his debut against England ~ his first inning uncomfortable stay was soon ended and in the second, was run out wandering out of his crease by a throw when ball was not in play and immediately Pataudi commented that this boy should learn that this is not Juhu beach.  Those days, it was felt and widely perceived that the purist Sunil Gavaskar who was vastly different by temperament and technique chided him and did not support him; though lesser mortals like Ghulam Parkar were well supported.  Srikkanth redefined batting with powerful hitting and playing lofted shots over the infield ~ amazing technique those days when batsmen were only used to driving the ball all along the carpet.

Rajan Bala was a great sports writer who at times was harsh ~ he was writing on the inadequacy in the technique of Srikkanth.  He wrote ‘Srikkanth and coaching manual have little to do with each other’. ~ and after this innings at Calcutta, he wrote – I am becoming his fan, which is something neither I nor Srikkanth ever thought would happen.  

It was an emotive Series that started at Chepauk in Feb 1987.  Pak played first, immediately lost Rizwan Uz Zaman to Raju Kulkarni; Shoaib Mohammad made a century; Miandad made 94 and helped by an unbeaten 135 by Imran, Pakistan made 487 for 9 declared and when play ended on 4th Feb 1987, the second day, Indians were 15 without loss with Srikkanth unbeaten on 5.

5th was a rest day and 6th started with great expectation for Chennai fans ~ all roads led to MA Chidambaram stadium and there was the mad scramble for tickets – there were heads everywhere – people occupying all vantage points to have a glimpse of Krish Srikkanth playing the pace of Imran Khan; there was Wasim Akram, guily Abdul Qadir and Tausef ahamed to reckon.  It was breath-taking assault as Srikkanth, cut, pulled and played with gay abandon to reach his maiden century in front of his home ground with all present cheering merrily.  He finally got out to Tauseef making 123 with 18 fours and 2 sixers.  Gavaskar, Mohinder, Vengsarkar all made runs too as Indians declared at 527 for 9.   If I remember aright, there was successive 4 and 6 off Imran that delighted the crowd.  The match meandered to a draw and the Man of the Match was shared by Imran and Srikkanth.

On 18th Feb was the 2nd One dayer at Eden Gardens, Calcutta.  Gavaskar had vowed not to play at Calcutta as crowds jeered him earlier.  Lalchand Rajput opened with Cheeka and was bowled by Imran; Raman Lamba too got out soon to Imran.  That was a day when Srikkanth cut, pulled and swatted Pak bowlers.  In those days, when 250 and a strike rate of around 80 were great, Srikkanth made 123 off 103 balls with 14 fours and 1 six.  India despite that cavalier knock, finished at 238 for 6 in 40 overs, which appeared a good winning total.  Imran went for 59 in his 10; Wasim Akram 49.  Rameez Raja and Younis Ahmed gave Pak a sound start but it was the thunder of Saleem Malik which stole the show.  He made 72 off 36 and took the match away from India.  A crowd of 90000+ reportedly saw that match. 

I  have treasured the paper cutting of Indian Express dated Feb 26, 1987 in which Rajan Bala hailed innings as a great display, comparing Srikkanth with Mushtaq Ali of yore.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
27th Dec 2012.

9 comments:

  1. I loved Cheeka so much that we bunked classes, kept away from office and more .. all to see him play - Varsha

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  2. Srikanth was sure the darling of those years... people flocked to see him.. a great dashing opener, though he never delivered what we all expected him to... Mukesh

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  3. I think I was in to my 8th standard when I started watching srikkanth on tv really a killer of the ball the legend who thought this world about attacking the ball on those boring days of cricket after him only great batch from newzealand and jaisurya from Lanka started hitting the ball

    ReplyDelete
  4. I think I was in to my 8th standard when I started watching srikkanth on tv really a killer of the ball the legend who thought this world about attacking the ball on those boring days of cricket after him only great batch from newzealand and jaisurya from Lanka started hitting the ball

    ReplyDelete
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