Sunday, January 3, 2021

Cricketer born in Simla, played for England - became famous for a match he did not play in Guyana

Cricket – we are mad fans .. how many of you are interested in solving ‘Crosswords’ ! – this is what a famous Cricketer was to tell :

There is no secret to solving them. And if there is one, it is in understanding when to recognise, say, an anagram or any hidden words. There is always an indicator and sometimes the clues are a bit more straightforward than at others. You have to read the clue in three or four different ways before you find out what the answer is going to be. Sometimes it is the first part of the clue, sometimes in the last part. It is a question of recognising the hidden words and the anagrams. The great thing about solving crosswords is, they teach you new words. And sometimes the answer can be a word you have never heard of, so then you look up that word and find out what it means and understand what the clue was trying to tell you.

Team India is buoyed by a brilliant eight-wicket win in the Boxing Day Test and will go into the third Test in Sydney full of confidence. The "josh" among the players seems to be quite high, which was evident in a video posted by BCCI Twitter handle on Saturday. In the video, the players seemed to be high spirits while taking part in a fielding drill. With the series level at 1-1 after the first two matches, the third Test will be played at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG), starting January 7.

After months of living in either a bubble of some sort of hard quarantine, the Indians' unease with COVID-19 restrictions on Sunday manifested itself into objections about travelling to Brisbane for the fourth Test where they and the Australians will have to enter quarantine.  There are some discussions on Australian media that the meal enjoyed by five players - Rohit Sharma, Rishabh Pant, Shubman Gill, Navdeep Saini and Prithvi Shaw - at a Chinese noodle and BBQ restaurant in Melbourne on Friday was not the only transgression of the tour, no matter how low the risk.

Way back on Jul 13, 1974, India played an One dayer at Leeds – thanks to a fine  innings by Brijesh Patel  82 in 78 balls (a whirlwind innings those days) and 67 by Ajit Wadekar – India posted a healthy 265 but lost to England.  It was a 55 over match.  There were 12  debutants  : Ajit Wadekar, Bishan Bedi,  Brijesh Patel, Eknath Solkar, Farokh Engineer, Gundappa Viswanath, Madanlal, Srinivasan Venkatraghavan, Sudhir Naik, Sunil Gavaskar, Syed Abid Ali & the man who passed away on Christmas day, 2020.

Robin Jackman, the former Surrey and England seamer who went on to become one of the leading broadcasters in South African cricket,  died at the age of 75.   He was born on August 13, 1945 in Simla, where his father, a colonel in the 2nd Gurkhas, was serving the last months of his career in the regular army before being invalided out, having lost a leg in a wartime accident.  He represented majorly - England, Rhodesia, Surrey, Western Province.  Nicknamed Jackers, he  made his Test debut in 1981 at the age of 35, claimed 14 wickets at 31.78 in his four England appearances, and also featured in 15 ODIs between 1974 and 1983. 



Many tours have been cancelled because of politics - for example, England's tours to South Africa in 1968-69   - but the abandonment of the Guyana Test in 1980-81 was an oddity in that the rest of England's tour was played as scheduled. The issue was Robin Jackman, a late call-up to the squad, who had playing links to apartheid South Africa. The Guyanese government, citing the Gleneagles agreement, refused to grant him an entry visa. England refused to play if restrictions were imposed and left.  Thus he became famous for the match that he did not play, at Guyana  leading  to the cancellation of the second Test of the series. Jackman had earned his place on that winter's Caribbean tour on the back of a stellar county season for Surrey, who finished second in the County Championship behind their London rivals Middlesex, thanks in no small part to his haul of 121 wickets at 15.40.

When the English management chose not to yield to political pressure, the match was abandoned, and the series moved on to Barbados. Jackman  recalled in place of the injured Bob Willis claimed five wickets in the match, including Gordon Greenidge, Desmond Haynes and Clive Lloyd. However, he was unable to prevent West Indies claiming a 298-run win for an unassailable 2-0 lead. After retirement, Jackman moved into the media, and became a regular commentator for the South African broadcaster Supersport. In 2012, he was diagnosed with throat cancer, having already undergone two operations to remove malignant tumours from his vocal chords.

He passed away  on Christmas Day, survived by his wife Yvonne and two daughters. His death comes just 48 hours after that of his former Surrey team-mate John Edrich, who died aged 83 on December 23. 

In all, he played 4 tests  taking 14 wickets and 15 ODIs taking 19 wickets in a career spanning almost a decade with a long gap of 7 years between his ODI and Test debuts.   A short man for a faster bowler, Jackman had a long, bustling run up, a good delivery and strong follow-through. He moved the ball both in the air and off the seam, and at county level was a most effective wicket-taker.  When he made his Test debut, his co-debutant was Barbados-born Roland Butcher  who secured his place in history becoming  the first black player to represent England-  at Bridgetown (the headline in the local paper was "Our boy, their bat"). Though he was touted to be a hard-hitter like Viv Richards, he faltered ended up playing 3 Tests and 3 One dayers only.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

3.1.2021.

  

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