Friday, May 1, 2020

Tamil Nadu players who have donned India cap .. and some more Cricket trivia


Do you know the list of Cricketers from Tamil Nadu who had donned Indian Cap ? – the list reads :  MJ Gopalan, C Ramaswamy, CD Gopinath, AG Kripal Singh, AG Milkha Singh, VV Kumar, Srinivasan Venkataraghavan, Bharath Reddy, TE Srinivasan, Krishnamachari Srikkanth, TA Sekhar, Laxman Sivaramakrishnan, B Arun, WV Raman, VB Chandrasekar, M Venkatramana, Robin Singh, Sadagopan Ramesh, Thirunavukkarasu Kumaran, Sridharan Sriram, Hemang Badani, L Balaji, KD Karthik, S Badrinath, Murali Vijay, Ravichandran Ashwin, Abhinav Mukund, Washington Sundar and Vijay Shankar .. .. 

At leisure was searching for information on couple of Cricketers who had represented the State – and was saddened to see that in the hall of fame, there were no photos for two Cricketers -  AG Milkha Singh and my favourite Cricketer, touted to be one of the stylish Cricketers – I adored watching him score a century against West Zone in Deodhar Trophy outsmarting Krish Srikkanth by mile and when Pakis toured India under Asif Iqbal in Jan 1980, at Deccan he scored a brilliant century against the attack of  Imran Khan, Ehteshamuddin, Iqbal Qasim and Abdul Qadir .. ..

The regular Quiz Q of yesteryears used to be – Which Cricketer was part of Indian winning Squad of 1983 WC but did not play in a Single game ? – sadly, that left arm fast bowler never played for India.  It was Sunil Valson, born in Andhra Pradesh (thought him to be a Keralite) played Ranji for Delhi & Services, toured England, immediately after return remember him seeing at Marina turning in for Chemplast.

The search for Cricketers was made for MO Srinivasan – have seen this gentleman in what stands as MOP School in Venkatrangam Street, Triplicane, in  an ancestral house – an imposing hall replete with medals – and the  grand old man, used to teach bajans.  Have seen him seen swim effortlessly at Marina swimming ground (he should be around 65+ at that time in mid 70s).  The grand old man MO Srinivasan was a classy wicket keeper who reportedly would stand close to the stumps even to Rangachari, the fast bowler.  He played Ranji and represented India in (unofficial) test against Australian services side which was returning from England in 1945 – ESPN quotes that   he played ten games for Madras in the Ranji Trophy in the forties.  His son MO Parthasarathy, played for Tamil Nadu and Bihar in the seventies.  Have seen MoP play in Chepauk, used to bowl with a freak action, fastish leg breaks and was a good middle order batsman.  He was tall and handsome and used to drive a motorcycle.

Of the people who excelled certainly was Commandur Rangachari who played in Australia in 1948 in 6 day test – Australia scored 674 – Sir Donald Bradman making 209 and Lindsay Hasset 198* .. Rangachari took 4 wickets for 141 and later had a 5 wicket haul against a strong West Indies side. (He is not featured on hall of fame of TNCA !)

When we grew up, the classy stylists in South were Gundappa Viswanath, Thirumalai Echambadi Srinivasan, Sudhakar Rao, Michael Dalvi.  Have seen Dalvi’s square cuts – he was selected to play for  Indian Board President's XI against the touring New Zealanders and for South Zone against the touring Australians.  In 1970-71 he hit 108 for Tamil Nadu in the Gopalan Trophy match against Ceylon.

Have heard of CP Johnstone .. (Conrad Powell Johnstone CBE)  was an English businessman and amateur sportsman who played first-class cricket between 1919 and 1948.  Johnstone was born at Sydenham in south-east London.  He played Rugby and Cricket for the Kent County Cricket Club.  He volunteered for military service in  1914 soon after the outbreak of World War I, was commissioned into the 3rd Battalion, Highland Light Infantry and was  posted to France.  His battalion saw action at Second Ypres later in 1915 and Johnstone was wounded in the neck on 1 May, breaking two ribs and puncturing a lung.

After resigning his Army commission in 1919, Johnstone returned to Pembroke College, Cambridge, studying for a law degree. After graduating Johnstone was employed by a liquor manufacturer in Calcutta and then for a number of years by Burmah Shell in Madras as a manager .  After playing for Kent, his majority of Cricket life was played in India playing particularly for the Europeans and for Madras Cricket Club. He captained Madras in the inaugural Ranji Trophy in 1934 was captain in 1940/41 when the team were runners-up in the competition, losing to Bombay in the final.

Before concluding the search in Wiki led to another unusual name - Sir Archibald Richard Charles Southby, 2nd Baronet OBE (1910 – 1988),  an English first-class cricketer and British Army officer. Southby served in the Rifle Brigade from 1933 to 1948, seeing action in the Second World War, for which he was made an OBE and received the Medal of Freedom. He also played first-class cricket in British India for Madras and the Europeans, as well as appearing for the British Army cricket team. Having come for work,  Southby made his debut in first-class cricket for Madras against Hyderabad at Madras in 1935.


Is it so difficult for the TNCA to get a stamp size photo of the stalwart TE Srinivasan, whom most fans of Cricket of our age would remember .. ..  ~ and as pointed out by a friend on FB – the legend fast bowler Commandur Rajagopalachari Rangachari – who played 4 tests is not there at all .. .. are there more errors ?  callous !

Sad ..

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
19.4.2020.

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