History Window: An Unusual Stop Over For India
India At Nottingham After Burning The
By S Zeyaur Rahman
Indian itinerary in England has an unusual stop over. That is the
small and picturesque Trent Bridge, where India has played only
two test matches in the previous 14 visits. It is surprising as to
why India did not play more tests at Nottingham, because Trent
Bridge is after all a regular test centre and by all means, a good
first played at Trent Bridge on its fifth tour to England in 1959,
when the team under Dattu Gaekwad went to tackle the English side
under Peter May. Despite 27 years in the Test circuit, India had
achieved little of note. It had just about managed to register its
first test victory, against New Zealand back home and was still
searching for a victory abroad. Though the team had seasoned
batsmen like Pankaj Roy, Contractor, Umrigar and Vijay Manjrekar,
the bowling department was ill equipped to pose any real threat.
Subash Gupte was the lone crusader, sometimes supported by the
opening fast bowler, Ramakant Desai. Little wonder that they stood
little chance against stalwarts like Cowdrey, Barrington and the
captain May himself. To add, England had a world class opening
bowler pair of Trueman and Statham which goes to show that the
balance was heavily tilted in England’s favor.
the first time that India was playing a 5-match series ion England
and as a matter of fact, the very first test of the series was
scheduled at Trent Bridge, Nottingham. May won the toss and
decided to bat first. His openers were surprised by the rookie
Surendranath, who had reduced them to 29-2, which included the
wicket of Cowdrey. Gupte had accounted for Taylor and England was
not in a strong position at 60-3.
stage was set for May to vindicate his decision and also salvage
the English pride against an Indian side, which by all means was
mediocre. He raked up a 125-run partnership with Barrington to set
the tone. The middle order clicked well with everybody coming
good. May lead the field with a hundred, where as Barrington,
Horton and Evans got fifties. Gupte and Nadakarni did well to get
the tail rather cheaply and England finished at 422.
that proved too much for India. Except the opener, Pankaj Roy, no
Indian batsman could stand up to Statham and Truman for long and
they were skittled out for 206, 17 runs short of the follow on
target. May had no hesitation in asking India to follow on,
because neither the Indian batsmen posed any threat of compiling a
huge second innings total, nor the spinners appeared to be
menacing in the last innings.
decision was spot on and his bowlers did the job wonderfully well.
The pair of Statham picked up seven more Indian wickets to add to
the six in the first innings and India fared even worse to be shot
out for 157 and lose the match by an innings and 59 runs. That was
an ominous beginning for the things ahead for India lost the
next time India got to play at Nottingham was on the previous tour
in 1996, when the team under Azharuddin stayed back after the
World Cup to rattle sabers with Atherton’s team. India had lost
the opening test in customary fashion but had recovered well after
the debacle and the Sidhu Boycott to put up a decent show
at Lord’s. All hopes were pinned on the third and final test where
India would try to equalize the series.
Compared to the last outing, India did much better. The makeshift
pair of Rathore and Monga was back early, but the debutant
centurion Ganguly and the little master Tendulkar had put up a
255-run partnership, which was an overseas record for the third
wicket for India. Ganguly became the third batsman to score
centuries in his first two innings and Tendulkar looked set for a
double century, but fell 23 short, which is his highest score
abroad till date.
continued his wretched form but Manjrekar got 53 and Dravid missed
a century for the second consecutive time to be out for 84. But
they had done enough to put India in a position from where they
could not lose the test. 521 is not a losing score. But the loss
of valuable time on the second day gave rise to fears that there
might not be enough time for a result at all.
Whatever hopes India had of winning the test and squaring the
series after England replied strongly. Atherton and Hussain got
hundred and with Stewart’s fifty, England were 360-1 at a stage.
The test match and the series were only of academic interest
end England managed a 43 run first innings lead and India had a
little more than two session for batting practice. Manjrekar
opened the innings but the only point of interest was Ganguly who
was looking set for a third big score in as many innings. But he
was out for 48 and after that Tendulkar played a lone hand of 74
as the team collapsed surprisingly for 211. But that was of little
consequence by then and the match was called off, giving the
series to England.
History Window: The Lord Of The Cricket Ring - I
India’s Unsuccessful Pilgrimages To The
Mecca Of Cricket
impossible to escape the clutches of history when one turns up at
the Mecca of Cricket, Lord’s. Despite the resurgence and the
aggressive onslaught from the sub-continent there is no denying
the ambience and atmosphere at this venue. Cricket turns into a
religion, a spiritual discipline and the devotees of the game
offer tier obeisance to the best of there ability.
has a special place in the history of Indian cricket as it was at
this venue on June 25, 1932 that India played its first ever test
against England. It has been a long journey since and in this
article we take a look at the moment of birth of Indian cricket
and also those occasions when the tie with the umbilical chord was
infant nation, India was under C K Nayudu, though there is story
behind that and the English were under Douglas Jardine (of the
Bodyline series fame) for the inaugural clash. Jardine decided to
play first and India possessing a very capable opening bowler in
Md Nissar made a wonderful start by reducing England to 19-3
before Jardine came up with a captains knock of 79. The legendary
wicketkeeper Ames chipped in with 65 as England finished at a
respectable 259, Nissar doing the maximum damage with 5-93. Four
Indian top order batsmen got decent starts but none of them hung
on for long and Nayudu’s 40 remained the highest contribution as
India folded at 189 conceding a significant lead of 70 runs.
Jardine played another crucial innings of 85 to take England to
275 and set up a target of 346 for India, which was certainly a
tall order in those days. India were 5-83 and soon 7-108, looking
set for a huge defeat. Unexpectedly Lall Singh and Amar Singh,
playing as a bowler raked in a partnership of 74 runs before India
ended at 187, losing the match by 158 runs. Amar Singh, coming at
No 9 became the first Indian to score a test fifty during his
innings of 51. With that the one match series ended and India had
embarked upon its journey into test cricket.
was given a three match series in 1936 and the first match was
scheduled at Lord’s. This time India was under the Maharaj of
Vizianagram, the man originally scheduled to lead India in 1932.
Gubby Allen was England captain and proved to be a better host
when he invited India to make the first use of the pitch. After a
first wicket partnership of 62 runs, India collapsed to the guile
of Allen and was all out for 147. Old timers still lament that
India never had an opening bowling pair like Amar Singh and
Mohammad Nissar. These two picked up nine wicket to bowl England
out for 134 and clinch a 13 run lead for India. Allen was in his
elements in the second innings, picking another five wickets to
dismiss India for a paltry 93 runs. Only three Indian batsmen
reached three figures and Hindelkar’s 17 was the highest. Chasing
107 runs for victory, the experienced Englishmen did not let it go
and scored a comprehensive 9 wicket victory and India tasted its
second consecutive loss at Lord’s.
World War intervened and India’s next tour was possible only in
1946, when Nawab Pataudi Senior took his team to clash against
Hammond’s England. Once again it was a three match series and the
opener was scheduled at Lord’s. It was Bedser’s debut match and
with figures of 7-49 he had indicated about the things to come.
From 6-87 Indi ahad wriggled out to 200 only because of Modi’s 57
and 43 by Abdul Hafeez. By 1946, India had lost its fiery duo of
Amar Singh and Nissar and as a result Englishmen ruled the roost
raking up a total of 428, the chief contributor being Hardstaff
Jnr with an innings of 205. The unorthodox bowler Lala Amarnath
had done well to pick up 5-118. Facinf a deficit of 228 runs,
India put up a better fight through Mankad and Amarnath to finish
at 275, but not before Bedser had scapled another four wickets.
But a target of 48 runs was too meager and England inflicted a ten
wicket loss to complete a hat-trick at Lord’s against India.
India’s next trip to England was in 1952, when Vijay Hazare took
on Hutton’s side for a four match series. This time India played
its second test at Lord’s having lost the opener earlier. This
match is a historic one as everything paled under the brilliance
of one man and he has the unique distinction of having a test
match named after him. This was the historic Mankad Test
and this is why. Mankad scored 72 opening the batting for India
and with Hazare’s 69 the team finished at 235. Hutton had a
wonderful side under him and they were looking good enough to rout
India. The captain lead from the front cracking 150. With one more
century and three fifties, England finished at a mammoth 537 and
Mankad had taken 5-196. Under a deficit of 302 runs, an innings
defeat was the most likely possibility. Under these circumstances
Mankad played a brilliant innings of 184 and with little support
from No 9 Ramchand, averted innings defeat for India. India
finished at 378 and set a target of 77 runs. England achieved that
for the loss of 2 wickets and India’s run of losses at Lord’s
years later in 1959, India got the opportunity to play its first
five match series in England. The team under Pankaj Roy geared up
to tackle the English challenge under Peter May. This time also
India got to play its second match at Lord’s and were already 0-1
down. The familiar story of a batting collapse on day one repeated
itself. Contractor stood out with a defiant innings of 81 as India
collapsed to 168. England did not fare much better. Ramakant Desai
claimed 5-80 and England reached to 226 mainly because of
Barrington’s 80. Starting 58 runs behind, the Indian batsmen came
up with another inept display to score 165 runs, Vijay Manjrekar’s
61 being the lone saving grace. For the fourth successive time
England had a low target to chase and they did it with minimum
fuss as India recorded its fifth consecutive loss at Lord’s.
eight year gap followed. In 1967 Nawab Patudi Junior lead the
Indian team to face Close and his men. But this time India was
offered a three match series. As per the new custom, the second
test was at Lord’s and customarily enough, India was 0-1 down. The
agonizingly repetitive story of batting collapses continues and
India was bowled out for 152, even that score being made possible
by Wadekar’s 57. Barrington’s 97 and Graveney’s 151 gave England a
lead of 234. They could have got more had Chandra not pulled back
five wickets. This time the India team could not even offer a
token score for England to chase as they were bowled out for 110,
losing the match by an innings and 124 runs.
was proving to be a nightmare for India as they had lost six
matches on the trot and things were looking from bad to worse. One
was left to wonder if at all the losing streak would be ended.
Forget about scoring a victory at this historic venue, India had
so far not even managed a draw here in its 35 years of cricket,
which had taken tham to this ground no less than six times.
this was to change, though not radically, but the change was
welcome. We will follow the course of the remaining six matches
between India and England at Lord’s in the next part of the
Stop Over For India
No Fond Memoirs Of Bourda
By S Zeyaur Rahman
The India West Indies series is all set to be renewed with the
first Test at Bourda Oval, Georgetown. It may not be a very
historic one for both the teams, but it is definitely going to be
a very significant one. Both the teams are on a kind of crossroad
and the outcome of the series will go a long way in determining
the road ahead. Where the West Indies will be desperate to get
back to winning ways, India will want to make their presence felt
in foreign lands.
It is going to be a very well contested series as both the teams
are more or less evenly balanced. On paper India look stronger but
that gets neutralized by the home advantage that Hooper's men
enjoy. Actually speaking, India's consistently dismal record
overseas gives the home team an edge over their rivals. It will be
really difficult for India even if there is a slight improvement
in the standards of the host.
The first day of the series is going to be crucial as it is going
to set the tone for the series. It is under this background that
we take a look at the Bourda Oval where the drama is all set to
The Georgetown Cricket Club, located in the Bourda district of
Georgetown is different from the remaining grounds in the
Caribbean in more ways than one. Apart from Antigua, Guyana is the
only country in the Caribbean which is not an island. Another
factor that will be of great relief to the Indians is the fact
that, contrary to the other battle grounds in the West Indies, the
Bourda is supposed to be a batsman paradise. Though the pitch has
grass on it, but like all the grounds elsewhere is has slowed down
considerably and is helpful to spin. Both these factors should be
more to Ganguly's rather than Hooper's liking.
The pitch is expected to last all the five days and will help
batsmen, fast bowlers and spinners. One could not ask for anything
more and given the odds at the stake, we are sure to have a great
game of cricket.
For India and West Indies, this ground has not proved to be a
significant one and there are not many great memories attached to
it. May be India will be happy with the fact that they have not
lost any Test here even in the hay days of the Windies. The same
applies to the home team also as all the five test matches played
between the two countries here have ended in a draw.
India and west Indies played at Georgetown for the first time in
1953, when the team under Vijay Hazare acme to challenge
Stollmeyer's side. It was India's first tour to the Caribbeans and
the Windies were yet to emerge as the indomitable force of world
cricket. In fact it was only the second series between the two,
the West Indians had visited India in 1948 for a 5 match series,
and had won it 1-0.
India were yet to register their first victory against West Indies
and they had not won a single test abroad. Vijay Hazare was
hopeful that his batsmen, mainly Vijay Manjrekar, Umrigar and all
rounder Vinu Mankad will be able to do the trick for his side. But
that was a formidable task, because the West Indies, without being
the world beaters that they alter became, had the services of the
W trio in the bowling department and Valentine and Ramadhin in the
bowling department. The Indians were already 1-0 down in the
series having lost the second test at Bridgetown and it was the
fourth test of the five match series.
Hazare won the toss and decided to expose his batting first so
that he might test the W trio against Subhash Gupte in the fourth
innings. The gamble did not work match because after being 47-0,
the score was soon 5-64 mainly because of Valentine. Mankad hit 66
and number 9 batsman Gadkari got 50 to post a respectable total of
262, where as Valentine finished with 5 wickets. In reply, the W
trio got their act together and when the score read 4-302, the
Windies appeared to be running away with the match. Worrell got
56, Weekes 87 and Walcott 123 to take their side to an invincible
position. Gupte claimed 4 wickets in quick succession to trigger a
collapse and the hosts were bowled out for 364. India started 102
runs behind on the fourth day and with some help from the weather
managed to draw. The weather had affected the match so much that
the rest day was abandon and the test went on all the 6 days. But
even on the final day very little play was possible and India
finished at 190-5.
Bourda did not figure in the itinerary when India visited in 1961.
It was only 19 years later that India and West Indies played each
other at Georgetown and that was in the historic 1971 series,
which continues to be a major milestone in the history of Indian
cricket. Wadekar's team had created a sensation by winning the
second test at Port of Spain and expectations were ripe for a
strong reply by Sober's team, when the third test got underway.
Sober's won the toss and decided to make first use of the pitch,
mainly to avoid the Indian spinners last, which had cost them dear
at Port of Spain. All the batsmen in the top order made useful
contributions but none went to make a huge score. From 8-256 it
was left to the wicketkeeper Lewis to take the score to 363. The
new found run machine for India Gavaskar, hit another hundred and
inspired credible performance from his team mates and India ended
up getting a 13 run first innings lead. Rain had interfered again
and the Indian innings could be complete only on the fourth day.
With little interest in the game left, Sobers used the opportunity
for batting and compensated for his first innings failure by
helping himself to a hundred. The Windies decalred at 307-3 ans
set India a target of 295 with less than two sessions to go.
Gavaskar and Ashok Mankad made merry in pressureless situation and
when the match was called off, India had put on 123 on the board
without any loss. Despite the rain interruption, it remains the
only India West Indies test at Georgetown in which all four
innings were possible and it remains to be seen if this time we
will be able to have four complete innings.
Georgetown was once gain missing during the 4 match series in
1975-76. It was in 1983 that both the team met for the third test
here. This time India were 1-0 down after losing the opener at
Kingston. Lloyd was captaining against India at his home ground
for the first time and he wanted he asked Kapil Dev to had a go at
his batsmen. The fear of Indian spinners wrecking havoc was still
there although India had only Venkataraghavan as a threat with
19-year-old Maninder Singh and Ravi Shastri as support cast.
Greenidge was out a little before close of play and along with
Richards had taken West Indies to 259-5. No play was possible on
the second day and the Windies innings ended up on the third day
at 470, in which Lloyd contributed 81. The rain menace continued
and the fourth day was a wash out. India batted out the last day
to finish at 284-3. Gavaskar got his second century at Guyana and
Vengsarkar had itched in with a well made 62 nad the result was
once again a draw.
Richards was there to welcome the new Indian captain Vengsarakar
in 1989 and this time the series opener was scheduled at
Georgetown. Colonel won his first toss and asked the host to bat.
Incidentally it remains the only occasion in India west Indies
matches at Georgetown that a captain had sent in the opponent to
bat after winning the toss. Richards was thankful for the
opportunity and his side had piled on 437 runs before being bowled
out, which is a record between the two teams at the ground.
Richardson compiled his highest test score of 14 and had it not
been for a 5 wicket howl by Arshar Ayyub, India was in for a
tougher time. Sidhu was no more the strokeless wonder any more and
India finished the second day at 86-1. Weather wrecked havoc with
the plans and no more play was possible in the match in the next
The last time India visited West Indies was under Tendulkar in
1997. This time the last match was scheduled at Georgetown. India
were 1-0 down after the infamous loss at Bridgetown and it was the
last opportunity for India to equalize the series.
Despite repeated failures by his batsmen Tendulkar chose to bat
first mainly because he did not want another run chase for
victory. Bridgetown was too close to memory to allow that and any
score was too much for India. He and Rahul Dravid had taken India
to 194-2 at the close of day one. It must have been really
frustrating for Tendulkar to see the rains play spoil sport on day
two and three. 194-2 was a reasonably good position to built a
foundation for the all important victory, Play could resume only
on the fourth day and India inched to 241-4 losing Tendulkar and
Dravid, before rain interrupted again. Azharuddin got his highest
score of the series that was 31 and his subsequent failure in the
one dayers lead to his exclusion for the first time in well over a
decade. India were all out at 355 and in whatever little time that
was left, West Indies compiled 145-3.
That sums up the five test matches played between the two teams at
Georgetown. None of them have been able to put the ground on fire
and most of them find place only in the official history. The
weather has been the single biggest factor that has denied any
result so far. The forecast this time gives reason to be
optimistic about a result. But the millon dollar question is that
who will break the jinx at Georgetown.
Will it be 'Sir' Carl Hooper, as he is fondly called in his home
town, or will it be the Prince of Kolkatta?
Over To Bourda Oval, Georgetown.
Robin Singh’s career over?
Singh might well have played his last
game for India
By K. Srinavas Rao
Have we seen the last of Robin Singh? Should we see obituaries
written about this merculiar cricketer? Robin Singh – the man
who holds the record for playing most number of ODI’s before
making his test debut for the country, the man who at the age of
38 can still be regarded as the fittest player in Indian Cricket,
the man who with his never-say-die spirit has many a matches for
India. Robin Singh has played most of his matches at No.6, the
slot that has nowadays become a specialist slot for bits and
pieces players or in technical terms a slot for an all-rounder.
All-rounders have nowadays become a part and parcel of any
International Cricket team. Even if he is not a genuine
all-rounder, the person coming in at No.6 would surely be a
batsman who can bowl decently or a bowler who can bat well. These
are the guys who come in at crucial times and turn the match on
its head. The man coming in at No. 6 plays a crucial role for his
team. He might come in at 220 for 4 in the 44th over where he is
required to blast off right from the word go and set a healthy
target for the opponents. He might come in at 16 for 4 in the 9th
over where he has to bide his time and get the team out of trouble
to put up a decent total. So, an all-rounder has to be a skillful
Robin Singh may not be talked about in the same breath as the
other World Class all rounders like Lance Klusener, Shaun Pollock,
Chris Cairns, Jacques Kallis, Sanath Jayasuriya or for that matter
up and coming Ian Harvey, but still he can reckon to be the best
in India. The problem with India is that, since the exit of the
greatest all-rounder of one-day cricket Kapil Dev, Ravi Shastri or
for that matter Manoj Prabhakar, India has not been able to
produce a genuine all-rounder of world class, which created a
vacuum at that spot. But, Robin Singh, with some gutsy
performances both with bat and ball has earned the respect of
teammates and opponents alike.
Robin Singh has given quite a few amazing performances both with
bat and ball at crucial times to back his claim of being an ideal
No.6 for India. None better than the knock of 48 he got against
Zimbabwe at Paarl in 1996-97 during the Standard Bank Tri-series
also involving South Africa. India was dead and buried against the
medium pace of Eddo Brandes chasing a decent target of 236. In
came Robin Singh who along with No.10 Salil Ankola put on a great
partnership with some great running between the wickets and some
lusty blows. But, for the mistake of Venkatesh Prasad to run off a
wide ball, India would have won the match.
The other innings which comes to mind is the knock of 82 against
Pakistan during the final of Independence Cup in Dhaka in
1998.Chasing a mammoth target of 315 to win the best-of-three
finals, India stumbled after losing Tendulkar who put on a great
opening partnership with Ganguly. But, in came Robin Singh sent in
as a pinch hitter at No.3 and turned the match India’s way with
a match-winning partnership of 179 with some sensible running and
Seldom has one seen Robin not meeting the expectations of his
captain or his fans. He never shirks from responsibility and
always plays according to the situation. He has also performed
pretty well with the ball although he has not been given enough
opportunities. One gets the feeling that he has been under bowled
in this version of the game because he has completed the full
quota of 10 overs only on 12 occasions. Still, he has 2 five
wicket hauls to his credit in ODIs. In fact, he has the best
bowling figures by an Indian in a World cup match. As far as
fielding is concerned, there is little doubt that he can be rated
among the best fielders in the world. There have been cases, where
he has turned the match India’s way by his sheer brilliance on
the field. None better than the catch he plucked out of thin air
to dismiss a well-set Ricky Ponting during the recently concluded
ICC Knock out tournament 2000. Aussies kept losing wickets
that and went on to lost the match to India.
Talking of temperament, there is no denying that he has no
parallels on this account. After making his debut in ODIs against
West Indies where he was brought up, and playing just 2 matches,
Robin was dumped. But, he showed tremendous spirit and slugged it
out in domestic cricket and gave some consistent performances
during this period and forced the selectors to call him back for
the Titan cup series in 1996 against South Africa and Australia.
Since then, he has been a permanent feature in the One-day squad.
One might feel that India had lost a tremendous asset for 7 long
years and wonders what a difference he would have made to the team
in that period!
Robin Singh may cross 38 in a couple of months time, but he is
still fighting fit and hopes to return to the Indian team and
carry on playing till the World Cup 2003. Since the ICC Knock out
tournament in November 2000 Robin has played only one game against
the visiting Aussies. But, the way the selectors are keeping him
out and blooding in youngsters like Reetinder Sodhi, Virender
Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh keeping the World cup in mind, Robin might
well have played his last game for India. Robin had age on his
side when he made a comeback after 7 years in 1996, but this time
he certainly does not have that. One might feel, the selectors who
took seven long years to call him back act a little bit faster
this time around. But, given his never-say-die spirit Robin will
fight it out till the last ball is bowled.
Step For Lords, A Giant Leap For Cricket
We Looked Before Leaping
By S Zeyaur Rahman
There is hardly any other more historical ground in the world than
the Mecca of cricket, Lord's. As it is, it has enough of histories
associated with it and another important link in the chain is
going to be added when England meets Pakistan for the inaugural
match of the World Test Championship.
This particular event is sure to satisfy the long overdue demand
of cricket, i.e an official mechanism of determining the number
one test team. But will the mechanism be successfully able to
solve the problem is a different thing altogether.
Organising a test match World Championship had been in the
pipeline for a long time. Because of the huge dimensions involved
nobody had any idea abort the format and nature of the
We are wrong if we were to assume that this is the first time that
a round robin league of test matches is being organised. Way back
in the 40's Australia, England and South Africa played each other
in England. Those were timeless test and were possible only
because of a smaller number of teams. It would be foolish even to
think of bringing all the teams together now and asking them to
play each other even once. That would surely last a year and at
the end of it nobody would be in a position to play cricket for
another 2-3 years.
From the 40's to 2001 is a long journey and there were various
ingenious and informal parameters of judging the best team in
business. After South Africa was banned, the Ashes was the de
facto world championship. India and Pakistan never made a serious
bid for the top slot despite some odd performances. The equation
changed in 1976; when Clive Lloyd substituted Ashes with the Frank
Worrel Trophy and went on to keep that for the next two and a half
decades. Meanwhile New Zealand and Sri Lanka did exist but only on
the fringes. In the mid 90's Pakistan emerged as a strong
contender and towards the end of the decade, as South Africa
matured, the race became more open.
The only means at the disposal of the cricket lovers was the
Dalloitus (now the Coopers and Librand ratings), which at best was
grossly inadequate. If statistics reflected the true picture of
cricket, the history of the game would have been altogether
There were a number of proposal floated and rejected regarding a
world series but this time the ICC has taken a plunge almost with
a sense of desperation. It has to make test cricket more
interesting and for that the first requisite is that it has to
sustain whatever interest is left in test cricket. Otherwise the
one-dayers have shook the game to the very foundations.
One of the fundamental problems or characteristics of test cricket
is its propensity of resultless games which is a severe drawback
in a heavily result oriented world. One has to sit through a game
for five days and may not have a result at the end of it. Gone are
the days when an interesting draw could satisfy people despite the
fact that some draws are more engrossing than outright results.
But the biggest problem is that how does one distinguish, decide
and rate two teams if there is no result. All the points system
being followed in the domestic championships of the test nations
have some flaw or the other, some as ridiculous is the first
innings lead system. It is seldom that the eventual champion is a
well-deserved one. How is one to counter if such a scenario
emerges on the international scene? That would comprehensively
defeat the very spirit of the championship that is to find out THE
Additional factors like home advantage pitch etc further
complicate the matter. The idea of two countries playing each
other at home and away is technically okay but the allowed time
frame is four years. Now no two teams can be the same after a gap
of four years.
There is also a provision of some particular test(s) in a series
being the ones slated for the championship. What if the team
winning the series loses that particular test? Then all the theory
goes down the drain. In our quest for perfection we make as many
rules as possible, which later turn out to be the millstones round
the neck. And the result is a chaotic comedy like the 1992 World
Despite all the efforts at perfection a lot depends on chance.
That is especially true of a game like cricket. The Test
Championship, for all it is, is nothing but a hurried gamble and
we can just hope that the ICC has called correctly.
Debonair Debashish Mohanty
Mohanty’s Magic in domestic cricket
By Vimal Kumar
there is any bowler, who is making headlines after headlines in
sports-pages in the domestic cricket, it is the medium pacer from
Orissa – Debashish Mohanty. The mild-mannered medium pacer
became the cynosure of all eyes on 25th January at the
Maharaja Bir Bikram Stadium at Agartala. The on-going four-day
Duleep Trophy league match between East zone and South zone saw
Mohanty doing an Anil Kumble. Yes, in one of the rarest exhibition
of magnificent fast bowling in domestic cricket, Mohanty grabbed all 10 wickets
of the South’s innings. Mohanty’s staggering figure was 19
overs, 5 maidens, 46 runs and 10 wickets.
has been in fantastic form this season. Prior to this game,
Mohanty, bowling with his characteristic enthusiasm came up with a
figure of 6- 59 in the first innings against North zone at
Guwahati’s NFRSA Stadium. One must say that he must have
impressed the two selectors who were watching the game –
T.A.Sekhar and Sanjay Jagdale. Although, East zone lost the match
but Mohanty’s effort couldn’t be overlooked.
season Mohanty is bowling with a refreshing attitude and his
insatiable desire for more and more wickets is transforming him
into a brilliant bowler. Led by Mohanty’s career best figure of
6-52 in the Ranji Trophy against Bengal, Orissa over-whelmed
Sourav Ganguly’s team.
Sourav must be pleased to see the 24 year old from Bhubneshwar
back to his best. It was the same man who was instrumental in
winning the Sahara Cup in 1997 at Toronto when Sourav first led
India. Along with the rookie Harvinder Singh and captain Ganguly,
Mohanty had made life miserable for the Pakistani batsmen in a
condition tailor made for swing bowlers. Infact, there were some
spells when Mohanty was unplayable and particularly the Pakistani
opener Saeed Anwar was baffled most. Anwar was unable to fathom
whether the ball was in-swinging or out-swinging due to
Mohanty’s unorthodox action.
who is a junior officer with National Aluminium company, has
unfortunately, not been regular with the national team due to his
inconsistency. There is not an iota of doubt that Mohanty can be a
devastating proportion, where conditions are conducive for swing
bowlers. At the risk of sounding exaggerated, he is the best swing
bowler in India.
India has the horses for courses policy a la Australia, then
Mohanty must have been a certainty on the tours abroad. He toured
Australia in 1999-2000 season but got least opportunities.
who made his Test-debut way back in 1997 at Sri Lanka at SSG, has
a keen desire to be regular with the National squad. His idol is
Javagal Srinath. For a brief period he was termed as “Next
Srinath” by his team-mates.
may not have played enough matches for India as he would have
liked to, but he has made a world of difference to his state team.
He was the first cricketer from Orissa to play in the national
team and it was his sheer influence that likes of Sanjay Raul and
Shiv Sundar Das got their chances to play for India. So, it was
only in the fitness of the things when Orissa captain Shiv Sundar
Das said that “they are carrying the legacy of Debashish
Mohanty”- after his team’s victory over Bengal in the Ranji
the upcoming series against Australia, he might not be given a
chance, despite his tremendous effort because India’s weapon
will be spin. But, after that India will tour Zimbabwe and South
Africa in coming months, and Mohanty’s services will be just
more than handy on those tours.