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Friday, December 17, 2021

Covid 19 impacting 2021 Cricket .. .. debut of Kanhai !!

The legendary little master - Sunil Gavaskar, made very impressive debut  on a tour of West Indies in 1971, was so overwhelmed by the behaviour of one of the players in the opposition side – Rohan Kanhai – that it “was a no-brainer” to name his son after him, said the former India great. Gavaskar’s son Rohan, born in 1976, played 11 ODIs representing India.


Kanhai, a Guyanese, was the first Indian-origin player to captain the West Indies, and the second after Sonny Ramadhin to play for the West Indies. Gavaskar said, “In my debut series, if I played a bad shot, when crossing over me to go to the slips for the next over, if he was not within earshot of the wicketkeeper, he would whisper in my ear: ‘Concentrate! Don’t you want a 100? What’s the matter with you?'” 

Rohan Bholalall Kanhai from Guyana played for  the West Indies in 79 Test matches. He is widely considered to be one of the best batsmen of the 1960s. Kanhai featured in several great West Indian teams.  Kanhai made his Test debut during the West Indies' 1957 tour of England and kept wicket for his first three Tests, in addition to opening the batting.  A right-handed batsman, Kanhai scored 6,227 runs in 79 Tests at a robust average of 47.53, with his highest score of 256 coming against India in a Test at Calcutta. He played in the inaugural World Cup 1975 and scored 55 in the finals, his last match !! 

Back in Jan 2004 at Brisbane India defeated Australia by 19 runs after scoring 303/4, aided by Sachin Tendulkar 86; VVS Laxman unbaten 103 & Rahul Dravid 74.  Rohan Gavaskar debuted and had an ordinary match !!  Rohan Gavaskar batted left and bowled slow left-arm spin !! – and played for Bengal.   In 2007, Gavaskar signed a contract with Indian Cricket League, playing for the Kolkata Tigers which was declared unauthorised by BCCI.  He was one among the 71 players granted amnesty by the BCCI in June 2009, marking his return to the official fold. 

The way Globe deals with Covid is funny !  - Australia was unduly strict and harsh while West Indies depleted by so many, still managed to have a X1 as India did in Sri Lanka.  

Australia captain Pat Cummins was ruled out of the second Test in Adelaide after being deemed a close contact of a Covid-19 case at a restaurant on Wednesday night. Steven Smith is leading  the team in the day-night contest.  Newsreports suggest that   Cummins was dining at an Adelaide restaurant with his brother and Adelaide Strikers' bowler Harry Conway when a patron on an adjoining table was identified as a Covid positive case. Cummins immediately left the restaurant and alerted authorities. He has since returned a negative PCR test but is required to isolate for seven days. Cricket Australia said that Mitchell Starc and Nathan Lyon were at the same restaurant as Cummins but at a separate table outdoors. South Australia Health deemed them casual contacts and they were free to play.

Players have not been in strict bubbles for the start of the series in Brisbane and Adelaide and Cummins did not break any protocols.  Still without Cummins, Australia marched into a commanding position with a century by  Marnus Labuschagne denying England any pink-ball sparkle in their attempts to fight back in the series. England have lost 2 quick wickets at close of stumps on day 2.  

Way back in 2015 - Guyana 419 for 9 dec   beat Leeward Islands 85 (Motie 6-20) and 299 (f/o) (Bonner 89, Cruikshank 57, Motie 5-85) by an innings and 35 runs.  The left arm spinner who took a 11 for is – Gadakesh Motie Kanhai, (photo at the start)  not sure whether related to legendary Rohan Kanhai in any manner.  Yesterday he made his T20I debut  at Karachi where West Indies lost after piling up 207/3 aided by a brilliant 64 by Nicolas Pooran.  Yet it was a clinical display from Mohammad Rizwan and Babar Azam that  powered Pakistan to their highest successful chase in T20I.    

Batting first on a well-rolled surface, West Indies rode on Nicholas Pooran's 37-ball 64 and breezy 40s from Brandon King and Shamarh Brooks to post a challenging 207 for 3. But a 158-run stand between Rizwan and Babar, in just 15.1 overs, ensured a 3-0 scoreline. Babar contributed 79 off 53 balls, while Rizwan was the aggressor, hitting 87 off just 45 with the help of ten fours and three sixes.   

Earlier in the day, the game was put in jeopardy after Shai Hope, Akeal Hosein, and Justin Greaves tested positive for Covid-19 but both teams decided to go ahead with the match. That, however, meant West Indies had to field a severely depleted side, as they were already without Sheldon Cottrell, Roston Chase and Kyle Mayers - all three had tested positive at the start of the tour - and Devon Thomas, who has a finger injury. The still put up their best performances of the series but it wasn't enough to prevent a whitewash.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
17th Dec 2021 

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