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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Border-Gavaskar trophy starts at Chepauk : remembering the bespectacled debutant at age 32

India takes on Australia in the four-match Test series at home, which also happens to be the first Test series of the year.  A Test series at home is eagerly looked forward to ~ the recent dismal performance against England at home cast a shadow on the capabilities of the present Indian team.   The present Aussie line up has only four players who've experienced Test cricket in India, but still Aussies cannot be taken likely.  Before you read more can you think of a bespectacled player, not so mobile on field and a rabbit with the bat, making his debut in the present scenario !!

Overall, India have played 82 tests against Aussies and have won 20 of which 15 have come in 42 tests played at home.  There cannot be any takeaways from the recent debacle of the tourists in the warm-up matches to little known spinners ~ whether the National spinners would bowl them twice in a helpful track remains to be seen. 

Harbhajan has tormented Aussies on their previous tours and is most likely to play his 100th test at Chepauk.  For the visitors, Moises Henriques  is likely to make his debut against the highly paid Glenn Maxwell and would become Australia's 432nd  Test cricketer tomorrow.  Australia on Wednesday confirmed their XI and whereas India are expected to play as many as three slow bowler, Australia included only one specialist spinner, Nathan Lyon, alongside a four-man pace group made up of Peter Siddle, Mitchell Starc, James Pattinson and Henriques. Maxwell will be the 12th man.  Henriques plays aggressive cricket and could reverse swing in the tour opener.

Thinking of Indo Aussie rivalry presently titled ‘Border-Gavaskar Trophy’, one test that would readily come to mind is the one in Oct 1986  ~ it ended in an unusual ‘Tie’; the second of its kind in the history of Test Cricket, it was played at Chepauk, Chennai; Gavaskar and Alan Border, both played in that test. Henriques, Watson, Warner, Maxwell, Ed Cowan and the present day younger generations could all be different – the man of this post is much different….  He debuted in the 1st Test of the Series in 1979/80 against Australia at this same venue,  Chepauk.  It was Test no. 855 played in Sept 1979.  Kim Hughes and Sunil Gavaskar were the Captains. 

Playing first Australia made 390, thanks to centuries by Alan Border [162] and Kim Hughes [100].  From 2 for 75, they had a 222 run partnership.  Kapil Dev bowled well taking 2 wickets; it was the debutant Dilip Doshi who stole the show taking 6 for 103 off his 43 overs.  India replied soundly making 425 ~ surprisingly no centuries but 50s by Gavaskar, Kirmani who came in as nightwatchman, Vengsarkar, Yashpal Sharma and 83 by Kapil Dev.  John Higgs, a leg spinner took 7 wickets.   Australians started their 2nd innings towards the end of the 4th day and ended up making 212/7 with half centuries by Hilditch and Border.  Venkatraghavan took 3 and Doshi got 2 wickets.  The match ended in a tame draw…… that was a 6 match series. 
photo source :

Now coming to the debutant  Dilip Rasiklal Doshi, it was unique in the sense that Doshi was one of only two Test bowlers that played in their first tests after the age of thirty, yet went on to take 100 wickets, the other being Clarrie Grimmett.  Dilip Doshi, the slow leftarm spinner with spectacles, was born in Rajkot in 1947, debuted in 1979 when he was 32+, went on to play 33 Tests and 15 One dayers.  Having waited for so long, he didn't waste any time in making his presence felt. With figures of 6/103 & 2/64 he was India's best bowler in that debut match. He was a real bunny with the bat making 129 runs in 38 innings with 20 as the highest.  Took 114 test and 22 one day wickets.  With his batting skills [the absence of it] and being termed as a slow mover, still Doshi made his ODI debut during the 1980-81 tour of Australia. At Gabba, against NZ, he produced his best figures of 4/30.

Doshi made his first Class debut for Saurashtra, but for most part played for Bengal taking 318 wickets in Ranji trophy at an impressive average of 18.33.  He had a long stint in English league playing for Nottinghamshire and Warwickshire.  He had immaculate control over the flight and turn and should have played much more but was part of the unfortunate group of Rajinder Singh Hans, Rajinder Goel, Padmakar Shivalkar – all left arm spinners, who were ignored by the brilliance of Bishan Singh Bedi.   There is a feeling that Doshi's uneasy relationship with Sunil Gavaskar, especially during the Pakistan tour of 1982-83 - was primarily responsible for his Test career running into a brick wall.

‘Spin Punch’ was his auto-biography. Doshi is probably one of the few cricketers who after retiring from the game chose an entirely different playing field.  He was the Managing Director of Entrack India, a firm that marketted Montblanc pens in India.  His son Nayan Doshi, plays English  league.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

1 comment:

  1. You failed to mention his fielding skills. He had butter fingers. I recall the entire stadium applauded when he took a site of a catch. A normal fielder would have taken that catch blind folded.