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Friday, January 2, 2015

the elegant player who ventured to Tamil cinema - Sadagopan Ramesh

Those of my friends not addicted to Cricket – can you relate or identify the person on extreme right with red head gear ?

At Melbourne, with 4 overs remaining, a draw was announced much to the relief of Indian fans.  Even though there was no overnight declaration and Aussies preferring to bat close to lunch, India was in the danger of losing especially after those early fall of wickets.  The young KL Rahul messed up the chance that was given to him overlooking Suresh Raina, failing in the 2nd innings too.    Lall Singh, Hiralal Gaekwad, Ramesh Saxena, Kenia Jayantilal, Yograj Singh, Thirumalai Echampadi Srinivasan, Ghulam Parkar, Rakesh Shukla, Ajay Sharma, Rashid Patel, M. Venkataramana, Salil Ankola (debuted alongside Sachin Tendulkar), Gursharan Singh, Subroto Banerje, Vijay Yadav, Robin Singh,  Nikhil Chopra, Syed Saba Karim ………………. Long list of some of Indian Cricketers who played in one test only. 

There are many players who never got the right opportunity and ended up not getting a National call. India has a well organized structure.  Ranji forms the basic foundation for players and serves as a good platform providing opportunity to players from all the States to claim National reckoning.   Still, those on top -  Amol Mazumdar and Amarjit Kaypee  never played for the Nation.

In yet another category of players who we feel ended up much less than what they deserved  is -  the elegant left hander  Sadagoppan Ramesh, the tale of a player  who has put behind him the disappointments of an aborted career and ventured into something totally new – the show business.   Remember he made his debut at a tough time, at his home ground Chepauk in 1999 and left everyone spellbound with pristine drives off Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis- in the subsequent tour to Lanka, he shone when others failed. A back injury ruled him out of the South Africa tour and started his disappointment of being in and out.   After more than two years off the radar, he had another opportunity when he was picked for the 2003-04 tour of Australia as a third opener but never got the chance there. 

In a recent interview to Cricinfo, he stated that he should have played at least 50 test matches.  He was a middle-order batsman who became an opener due to forcing circumstances.  Pakistan, at that time, had probably the best attack in the world. You had Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Shoaib Akhtar, Saqlain Mushtaq and Mushtaq Ahmed.  In that Delhi test remembered for Kumble’s clean 10, Ramesh got 60 and 96. In that 2001 epic Series, he played so well at Chepauk against Aussies making 61 and 25.  In his last innings he scored a fifty but sadly never got a chance after that and ended up playing 19 Test matches.  Ramesh is the first Indian cricketer to take a wicket off his first ball in ODI cricket, the victim being Nixon McLean of the West Indies.

The man at the start is indeed Sadagopan Ramesh, the Cricketer. From Cricket, he landed on TV as a Judge in a comedy show.   Then he played the hero’s brother in Jayam Ravi starrer ‘Santhosh Subramaniam’.  Then came ‘Potta potti’ in 2011.   It was a hilarious plot – two men, Kodaivannan and Kolaivannan, of a remote village decide to marry a rich girl.  In tune with the village rivalries the winner of an event would get her – and it boils down to a Cricket match at the village.  The ‘good’ hearted Kodaivannan’s team kidnaps the real cricketer, Sadagoppan Ramesh, while he is on his way to Thekkady.   Kolaivannan hires his coach from a greedy big shot from Chennai who eyes the big land of this village for his business. In between, the coach Sadagoppan Ramesh falls in love with that girl. Though it did not go great guns, the movie was a good comedy. 

Sadagoppan Ramesh ended up playing 19 tests (37 innings) scoring 1367 runs with 2 centuries and 8 fifties at an average of 37.97.  In 24 One dayers he made 646 – though he scored 159 and 70 fours in Tests and One dayers – he hit only a single six in his International career.   He was an elegant player to watch.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

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