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Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Cricket injuries painful to some .. .. provides opportunity to some !!

Test Cricket will be back – England would play New Zealand at Lords in the test starting on 2nd June 2021.. .. wicket keeper batsman James Bracey is most likely to make his debut !  James Bracey from Gloucestershire  benefited from the fact England were forced to name enlarged squads during the Covid era of international cricket. 

Here are some interesting trivia to the Cricket fan with unquenching desire to know more and more of the game.  Way back in Feb 1976, India played New Zealand in ODI no. 36 -  3 south Indians – R Sudhakar Rao and Pochaiah Krishnamurthy alongside veteran Bhagwar Chandrasekhar made their debuts.   P Kirhsnamurthy a wicket keeper from Hyderabad made his test debut in 1971 WI tour and this match at NZ happened to be his last match, his only ODI.  Years later in Asia cup match in May 2000 India beat Bangladesh at Dhaka – curiously, Ganguly used 8 bowlers – Ajit Agarkar, T Kumaran (!), Sourav Ganguly, Anil Kumble, Sunil Joshi, Hemang Badani, Robin Singh & Sachin Tendulkar.  Kumble had ordinary figures of 9-0-43-0 – did not beat the batsman much – but one of his deliveries beat the bat, jumped, and hit the wicketkeeper injuring his eye.  He rushed to Chennai for treatment – did not play any one dayer after that – the sad story of Syed Saba Karim.

In Nov 1974, at Bangalore,  West Indies won by 267 runs – on the last day they  needed to take only eight wickets, as Pataudi (dislocated finger) and Engineer (blow over the eye) had been injured in the field. Badly demoralised, India capitulated before lunch.  H Hemant Kanitkar, Gordon Greenidge and Viv Richards debuted  .. the next Test at Delhi changed the life of Viv and perhaps that of Venkatraghavan too.  It was probably Sunil Gavaskar who would have led India for the first time – but after the Bangalore test and before Delhi Test, Gavaskar played a Ranji match and a bowler by name Pandurang  Salgaonkar who could never play for India hit Sunil Gavaskar on hand forcing him to sit out for 3 tests.

Wriddhiman Prasanta Saha was drafted into the Bengal Ranji side after regular wicketkeeper Deep Dasgupta signed up with the Indian Cricket League. He grabbed the chance  becoming the 15th Bengal player to score a hundred on Ranji debut.  In Feb 2010, a  last-minute injury to Rohit Sharma handed Saha an unexpected debut in Nagpur - as a batsman. His second Test appearance - against Australia in Adelaide in January 2012 - was also somewhat accidental, a result of MS Dhoni's suspension due to a slow over rate. In between, Saha played two ODIs against New Zealand.

I remember the present bowling coach, Bharat Arun running in and falling down before delivering his maiden delivery in Test Cricket  - he played 2 tests and 4 ODIs taking 4 and 1 wickets respectively.  Then Shardul Thakur, got  his chance against the visiting West Indies, relatively an easy chance but managed to bowl only 1.4 overs in International cricket on his debut match, after having had to walk off due to a pain in the groin region. When Thakur's front foot landed on the bowling crease as he delivered his 10th ball in Test cricket, it seemed to buckle and the pain was immediate.

The news from UK is - Ben Foakes has torn his left hamstring in a dressing-room accident and will miss the two-Test series against New Zealand, starting at Lord's on June 2, with James Bracey set to debut in his place as wicketkeeper. Foakes, who had been in line to play his maiden home Test series after finishing the recent tour of India as England's incumbent keeper, sustained the injury after slipping in his socks while walking through the Surrey dressing-room following their drawn LV= County Championship fixture against Middlesex on Sunday.

Foakes' assessment and rehabilitation will be managed by the Surrey medical team. However, in a statement, the ECB said that he was expected to be out of action for at least three months, meaning he is unlikely to play any part in the five-Test series against India that starts at Trent Bridge on August 4. In Foakes' absence, Bracey is in line to take over the keeper's role for his Test debut. Bracey has been a part of England's bio-secure bubble since the home series against West Indies last July, and was already widely tipped to make his debut as a batter at some stage in the series. However, the other established wicketkeepers in England's ranks - Jos Buttler and Jonny Bairstow - are both missing from the current squad, having been rested following their involvement in the IPL, which was postponed earlier this month due to India's surge in Covid cases. As a consequence, Sam Billings has been drafted into the Test squad as cover. Though he was also at the IPL, as a non-playing squad member at Delhi Capitals, Billings' winter was interrupted by a shoulder injury, sustained during his solitary ODI appearance at Pune. He returned to action as Kent's captain last week, making 11 against Glamorgan in his first County Championship appearance of the season.

                     He ended up bowling 27740 deliveries  in Tests and 11202 in One dayers.  Kapil Dev Nikhanj would ever be remembered as one of the greatest All rounders of India scoring 5248 runs in 131 Tests (184 innings) and taking 434 wickets.  In 225  One dayers, he scored 3783 runs taking 253 wickets.  Kapil Dev was supremely fit and  never missed an international game due to injury. He played 66 consecutive Test matches before he was surprisingly dropped from the team for the Kolkata Test against England in 1984 for getting out to an extravagant shot as India were trying to save the Test match.  There was one ODI, whence he played as a pure batsman, not bowling a single delivery in a completed innings.  That was ODI 395 on 7th Oct 1986 against Australia at Rajkot, where he was the captain.  During the time, when delaying the over rate and bowling lesser no. of overs was an approved tactic,  India opening with Krish Srikkanth and Raman Lamba made a healthy 260 for 6 in 48 overs.  Lamba made a century.  Kapil Dev blasted a quick fire 58 off 31 balls with 5 fours and 2 sixers.   But the Indian attack without Kapil lacked the incisiveness.  It was Madanlal, Rudra Pratap Singh, Rajinder Ghai, Ravi Shastri, Maninder Singh.  Krish Srikkanth bowled 2 overs while Azharuddin bowled the last over.  Border’s unbeaten 91 saw them through.

Before concluding there have been some freak injuries which have denied players opportunities - .. .. West Indian Jimmy Adams was a dour customer.  In 1998 tour to South Africa, he reportedly injured himself, cutting the tendon in his right hand trying to cut the bread with a plastic knife !  .. ..   

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

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