Saturday, December 29, 2007

Why Australian Cricket is so good

Why Australia is so good

If it has to be a one liner, the answer is simple. The system in which Cricket functions Down Under is top class, at every step and the approach is totally professional. The playing conditions like ground, facilities, equipment, club set-up, etc. all play a role. Recognition of talent and not representation of zone or state is the yardstick. Only the genuinely tough and the talented players make it to the top there – even from junior level - and survive. Weaker ones naturally fall by the wayside, because there is no ‘godfather’ route to take, like here! As such, we see the best player playing for the country. Healthy competition – not politics – pushes them up. Stuff is secondary here.

The best basic conditions are available and kids learn the game there in perfect conditions. In India, we get gravel to dive to learn fielding skills!

Down Under, a player is chosen on pure merit of his talent and put on contract by Cricket Australia [CA] and is paid irrespective of whether he plays the matches or not. CA also uses the rotation basis of [important] players. Once they are on the ‘rolls’ they will get their due chances. BCCI chooses its team on zonal quota basis and once a player is chosen in the team, his main intention is to show performance that will keep him in for the next match or two. That is how it is. So he worries about his place [barring exceptions]. Once a player is dropped from the team, it is hard work! Hard work for the zonal selector! Of course, the players work hard to improve the game and performances, but that becomes sadly secondary! A CA player, even if he performs badly temporarily and is dropped, his place in the team is not in jeopardy. So when he comes back, he does his best to prove his worth without the main eye on keeping the place in the team, but to perform as per the team’s and situation’s demands. That is the difference.

Aussie aggression! It is a tactic they use to demoralize opponents. It also comes to them ‘naturally’! They are as mentally strong as they are skillful. No wonder they have often overdid ‘sledging’! They play what we call the ‘power game’ wherever possible. They also use another tactic of passing open comments in the press before any touring team visits. But then, that is their way and also they have the resources to back!

Don Bradman in one of his interviews had revealed that in Australia the young cricketer is asked by his parents on his return home “Did your team win?” What do we ask the young boy here? “Beta, how much did you score…?” That is the difference in attitudes as they grow up. Ricky Ponting once told “we play for each other”. Here, they play for themselves. Of course, there are a few exceptions here too, but then, that is the overall scenario. We can actually see that here!!

Those things aside, the way CA prepares itself for matches is totally professional, leaves no stone unturned. They are thorough in their approach, execute plans to perfection on the field, have the win-at-all-costs attitude [so they give their 100% always in whatever they do], rarely at fault in their ‘out-cricket’, play as a team and play hard cricket!

BCCI players are worried about injuries too, in the absence of the contract system. They lose money if they are out of matches. So they don’t like to get injured. A ‘comeback’ means a Herculean task [esp. for the ‘margin players’]. So, many times, we see them not ‘pushing’ in terms of effort on the field. CA players are properly taken care of even if they are injured.

Things that bother in the BCCI are not in CA, so we see the best! Most importantly, they have talent abound and always a second string is ever ready, thanks to the system and policies. Domestic cricket there is of a high standard and so players coming from there have to be high standard! They know 5 years ahead who is going represent CA. He is already ready when he gets his chance at the highest level! Not like we do here – throw a raw player up on a ‘hot tawa’ as soon as he scores a double hundred in domestic cricket! The selector shouts ‘my boy has scored, so he has to be chosen’! Besides abilities, good sporting pitches is another vital ingredient for good cricket and talent to show itself, which lacks here in our Bhaarath. The Curator of the pitch is ‘remote controlled’!

Because of such hassle-free and most probably a transparent system there with CA, players are able to step in and contribute without any mind blockages or face any hurdles. Consistent performances and results are automatic when things are that way. Another important factor why Australia is the best and why they keep winning is that they have the best balanced side. They have regular openers to give good starts, solid middle-order batting, handy all-rounders, fit wicket-taking bowlers, and a wonderful captain leading the ship! If someone fails, the other takes over and never gives up. The important thing is, they are able to retain such a balanced side, even if established players retire. And they have been doing it consistently enough to demoralize the opposition irrespective of location. That has been their key.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Ranji Trophy matches in Mysore

Of late, Mysore hosting a Ranji Trophy Cricket match is becoming 'usual' what with improved facilities and grounds. I was at the ground - not on the ground, playing - this time to witness a couple of hours of cricket.
"I prefer to play rather than watch", much like what "Nana" Joshi had told in Pune many years back, but that's another story.
It was after many years I was witnessing a Ranji tie, thanks to my friend, who had given me a 'pass'. Karnataka were on the field the first day, allowing Rajasthan to dominate. He was out before we arrived second day.

Gangotri Glades had been shaped up nicely. Quite a number of people turned up to witness, most probably to see Robin Uthappa in action, in particular. It was true. When I was arriving on the second afternoon, with my family, people were leaving the ground, as if Bradman was out, and I had come to know that Robin had been just out for 55. But I had to witness the dismissal of local lad KB Pawan and Sudhindra Shinde also. Karnataka were in trouble and they never came out of it despite Yere Goud's century the next day. Eventually, Rajasthan went back with more points.
I had my camera, a Panasonic Lumix FZ8 with me. Here are a few shots I took at the ground on the first two days. I could not be there on the the last two.

Sunil Joshi and B.Akhil in the two corners batting, Robin does a warm-down walk in the bottom left picture while two Karnataka players have 'a knock' after the first day's play.
Shinde and Pawan at the change of overs.

A section of the crowd.

83-year old veteran BK Ananda Rao, a leg-spinner in his hey days watches the game on the second day.

Local lad Pawan plays a defensive shot to the off.

I liked this defensive shot. Everything seems to be technically correct here. Ball hitting the middle of the bat, right beside his outstretched left pad, eyes over the ball, high left elbow, slackened bottom hand grip, back foot heel lifted, but toe inside crease! Bishnoi or Bisht of Rajasthan, I know not. Towards the end of the first day. Uthappa is at silly mid-off.

Pavilion view of the ground - two separate pictures.

Another photo-collage showing various batting action shots.

I think it is NC Aiyappa. But it may be Akhil or Vinay Kumar. I know not from these shots I took. [Except for Akhil, Robin, Pawan and Joshi, I cannot put names to any other faces in the Karnataka team]. But I loved the way these pictures turned out. You can spot the ball in the frame in each one except two or three.


Thursday, November 29, 2007

Famous cricketers visiting us!

Our house in Devaparthiva Road has a unique distinction of having been set foot by famous national cricketers. First one of course is BS Chandrsekhar. It was always in awe people of the road and at least I used to look when he arrived here visiting his paternal aunt, my grandmother. GR Viswanath had once accompanied him when they came together to some function as guests sometime in 1975 or so when both were just about at their peaks of their careers and winning matches for India.
Much later, Javagal Srinath visited to meet his friend here. But the most surprising fact of Dattu Phadkar [all-r0under who played for India in 31 Tests] visiting our house is absolutely stunning. My memory became clearer when I stumbled upon a letter written by Kitti [my uncle] to his brother [my father] at Bombay. In his letter dated 24.2.1952 [still preserved] he informs about Phadkar visiting us. In fact, he was accompanying a close family friend renown as "Bombaai Ramaswamy" from the much renown "Bombay House" in Mysore, another great sports enthusiast too. I vaguely remember my grandfather mentioning about Phadkar, but our small age could not retain this unfamiliar name. It was there in the 'recycle bin' though. Ramaswamy, in all probabilities, had brought Phadkar to meet my sportsman-grandfather.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Ever since I watched the 1983 World Cup final on TV, each final of the subsequent World Cups never fails to pull me back to that evening when India made history. There were hardly a few who could afford the TV then. Only in B&W. Cumbersome, high antennae had to be erected to catch the feeble signals from the Bangalore DD Kendra. Not all matches were telecast like today. It had telecast the semi-final in which India beat England and the World-cup bug had bitten many. I had watched the semi-final in bits and pieces on my friend Keerthi’s TV, not at his home, but at his friend’s house. His friend's TV had broken down. So we took Keerthi's TV there to Gokulam, an area in Mysore that was in the range where signals were reaching in good quality from the Bangalore Kendra. This circus could not be repeated for the 'final' for some reason and I was wondering where to watch. It was a ‘final’ that HAD to be watched, no matter where. India was to meet the mighty West Indies.
Come June 25, I met Girish Nikam, my teammate. We were to meet that evening to go ‘somewhere’ to watch. He was as determined as I. I went to his house on my bicycle, as planned. The match had begun and India was batting first. We were listening to commentary from BBC on his old vacuum-tube-Bush radio. After some time, he discovered that there was a friend close by who possessed a 'telly' hoping to fill our belly with cricket. I left my bicycle in Girish’s house (where I was to take it back the next morning) and pillioned with him on his scooter to catch the action on far away Lord’s. But we were disappointed to see such an awful TV reception there. We felt contented even as the dots and scratches annoyed us to form very fuzzy pictures and it was quite a strain to the eyes. The radio commentary guided us to know who was doing what. Such was the quality.
Girish tried another source over the phone from there. By that time, West Indies were already two or three down, chasing India’s modest 183. Viv Richards was going great guns, but we heard on radio about Kapil Dev taking a beautiful catch to send back the danger man. While that brightened India’s hopes Girish’s call brightened ours – to watch better pictures. So we rushed to the new venue, which was Girish’s friend’s friend’s house, again somewhere in Gokulam.
Our joy knew no bounds when we saw such a clear picture! We witnessed wickets tumbling. In a short while, there were about 15 lucky strangers in front of the telly! The mighty Carribeans had incredibly perished like bunnies for 140. All of us thanked the residents and left, ecstatic, having enjoyed every moment of live action that we could. On our way back, people were shouting and celebrating on the streets. It was well past midnight when Girish dropped me home where I saw worried and anxious elders awaiting my arrival and wondering my whereabouts. In those not-too-many-telephone-days, I neither thought of informing them or cared for dinner either. Such was the thrill-intensity the match provided. It was an unforgettable adventure.
India's WC win was the reason Srinivasa Rao saw to begin a new chapter in our unique group. Masale Dose group! Read about it and more in this blog here:

Sunday, November 18, 2007

CRICKET, the great game

Cricket is an idea. It was an idea of the gods. - Sir James Barrie

Many people ask "What is Cricket?" You have two sides; one out in the field and one in. Each man that's in the side that's in goes out when he is out. He comes in and the next man goes in until he's out. When they are all out, the side that's out comes in. And the side that's been in goes out and tries to get those coming in out. Sometimes you get men still in and not out. When both sides have been in and out including the not outs. That's the end of the match. That is Cricket! Durban's Kingsmead Oval's Centenary Museum has that description (in italics, above) for the tourist who wants to know what Cricket is about.

It is also worthwhile to recall a letter written by Lord Harris in THE TIMES (2.2.1931): "…You do well to love it, for it is more free from anything sordid, anything dishonourable, than any game in the world. To play it keenly, honourably, generously, self-sacrificingly, is a moral lesson in itself, and the classroom is God's air and sunshine. Foster it, my brothers, so that it may attract all who can find the time to play it; protect it from anything that would sully it, so that it may be in favour with all men…."

The game is played with a hard leather ball with a willow bat. The 'klunk' produced when ball strikes bat is sheer pleasing melody. But it is a hard game played the hard way. Only the fit, talented, hard-working and courageous can survive long playing it. There is more to Cricket than just winning and losing.

Cricket is indisputably pre-eminent for its qualities as a means of entertainment, of character building and even as a way of life. It is a game synonymous with sportsmanship and chivalrous behaviour. Great cricketers are respected all over the world not only for their technical skills, but because they are gentlemen. The game does not encourage gamesmanship or underhand tactics. The laws of the game must be obeyed and there is a strict code of personal behaviour which is intended to cover all situations not governed by precise laws. No player can ever be greater than the game itself.

Cricket is a storehouse of pleasures and rewards. The rewards of physical and mental health, personal satisfaction, life-long friendships and other less tangible things stand out. It is a game which always upholds ethics and etiquette. Cricket is renown for its 'glorious uncertainties'. The game can be very absorbing and exciting. Sometimes, soporific and dull. The progress and outcome of a match is dependant on unpredictable factors like weather, ground conditions, personality, mental poise, varying individual skills and opponent's strengths. Their combination in varying degrees is what makes the game so thrilling and keeps the suspense element till the end. They say that 'the game is not over till the last ball is bowled'. Watching the game is a sight to behold esp. when the great players are in action. The connoisseurs have always liked the Test Matches. This is where all of Cricket's nuances are in full bloom.

Numerous bizzare incidents happen in this game. Here is just one: Harold Charlwood, playing at the Oval, gave a dolly catch in the deep and was dropped. He had already taken two runs and was run out when on his third. Meanwhile the second run had been signaled 'one short'. He went down in the score-book as "dropped, made one run, ran one short and was run out. All in one hit!"

Humour in Cricket has always been amusing and unique. Cricket's own jargon adds much beauty to it and can drive a lay person crazy, like this one: During the last Ashes Test at the Oval some decades ago, Norman Yardley, the England Captain received a letter from an old woman like this : " I have no interest in cricket and I do not care who wins. But the other day, quite by accident, I listened for a few minutes to a Test Match Commentator. He said that someone or something called Lindwall bowling. It sounded purely a name to me, but when he proceeded to say this bowler had two long legs and one short fine leg, I was shocked. Tell me Mr.Yardley, what kind of creatures are these Australian cricketers? No wonder our Englishmen can't win". Sans humour, Cricket would have become quite monotonous.

There have been many great people who have thoroughly excelled. Some have even been knighted in honour of their yeomen efforts. Such a personality could be easily located by anyone. Once an Australian fan of Sir Don Bradman mailed a letter when Australia were touring England. He addressed his envelope "Mr.D.G.Bradman, Somewhere playing in England". It reached the man!

There have been many great acts of sportsmanship on the field. At Leeds in 1909, Jack Hobbs hit a ball to the mid-wicket boundary and while doing so, had dislodged a bail with his right foot. An appeal was made but neither of the two umpires had seen it and so favoured the batsman. Hobbs knew this. So, two balls later, he withdrew his bat away to a straight ball and allowed himself to be bowled.

Cricket can bring great fame and fortune but the joy it gives to the player and the beholder is immeasurable. It is probably the profoundest of all games. Perhaps this is why there are so many who are playing and following it. It is a great team-game that encourages honesty and provides a 'family atmosphere'. It prepares us to face situations positively with humility and enjoy the process more than its outcome. Victory is no doubt sweet, but it teaches you to accept a defeat gracefully.

Playing Cricket is a wonderful feeling (in its true spirits). Those who have experienced are the fortunate ones for, it is a complete game which has everything in it. It makes the man. Playing the game demands top physical fitness and athleticism. The body will not obey the mind if one is not fit. The proverb "a healthy mind in a healthy body" holds a lot of water esp. in Cricket. A 'cricketer' is a more worthy name for one who works on his fitness, who is a 'team-man', a gentleman, skillful to the extent of adapting according to different situations in matches and usually an amateur (An amateur is one who engages himself more as a pastime rather than a profession. The word amateur is often misunderstood and freely used wrongly to mean 'immature'!!). Those who fall short with these qualities are all mere 'cricket-players'. I reckon this is the subtle difference between them.

George Bernard Shaw (perhaps the greatest of cricket ignoramuses) had quoted: "A game played by eleven fools and watched by eleven thousand fools". Not for nothing Cricket is the most popular game.



First of all, let me mention that these points have been compiled from my many years' experience as a player. This was brought out in the form of a small booklet and distributed to the young lads at our Mysore Gymkhana Annual Cricket Coaching Camps, with a purpose that they would enjoy playing the game and learn practising on these lines. I have put down as many points as I could - from my old school of thought. Old or new, these should hold good on any day, at least most of them. There is always scope of improvement, for innovation, for learning.

Each sentence is a 'point'.

* * * * * *

The primary requisite for any sportsman is physical fitness.
An unfit player is a liability to the team and may not find himself in the list!
Hard work is the one and only way to keep yourself fit (for playing in a match).
Muscles obey the mind only if the person is physically fit.
Cricket demands athleticism, strength, stamina, endurance, patience, concentration and mental toughness. Without proper physical training, it is impossible to enjoy playing!
Warm-up and stretching exercises MUST be done before playing (both practice and match). They make the muscles flexible and prevent injuries.
Muscles build up lactic acid after the event (long hard day on the field) and has a stiffening effect. Warm-down prevents it and makes you fresh for the next day.
"A healthy mind in a healthy body" : Remember this old saying, always.
Only fit sportspersons know what a "light, feathery feeling" is. Experience it!

Fielding is the key esp. to limited overs cricket. It requires 120% effort. Yes, 120.
Good anticipation is the secret. You will be at the ball quicker if you anticipate!
Prevent boundaries; ‘Extra’ runs should never be gifted away.
Back-up for throws must be anticipated at all times.
A fielder must back-up for any misfield by another fielder within his reach.
Aim the base of the stumps for a direct throw - hitting chances increase!
Good fielding boosts the bowler’s confidence. All bowlers expect support.
Always call to field/catch or leave the ball to the other fieldsman.
Always throw the ball on the full to the ‘keeper when there is no chance of a run out at the bowler’s end.
Always remember these: Catches win matches. A run saved is a run scored.
Without using illegal means, maintain the shine on the ball if conditions demand.

The wicket-keeper is the king-pin of the fielding side. He is there in every ball bowled in the game.
He should ALWAYS think that each and every ball would come to him.
He should ALWAYS be ready behind the stumps to take the throws and each time the ball is played.
Conceding byes and dropping catches are his minus points.
He should keep encouraging the bowlers and fielders because he is always in the centre of action.

Do not throw away your wicket. Always make the bowlers earn it.
Taking singles and twos is the essence of batting. Unsettle the bowler’s rhythm by rotating the strike.
Unnecessary slogging will lead to disaster.
Keep the good balls away safely and wisely select the ones to score from.
Run the first run quickly, esp. if the ball has been hit to the deep field.
Slide the bat near the crease on full stretch esp. while completing a quick run.
Both batsmen must watch the ball till it becomes dead.
Be ready to capitalize on any fielding lapse. Put pressure on the fieldsman.
Always call and respond with a clear YES, NO or WAIT. Make calling a habit even for ‘easy’ runs.
Bat the full quota of overs.
Never run to a misfield unless there is 'a two' in it.
Build up good partnerships and accumulate as many runs as possible, without wasting opportunities, while keeping a healthy run-rate.
One mistake will bring about your downfall. If the opponent lets you escape, make them pay for it.
A captain's dream is a 'batting depth' up to #11. But remember, it is the responsibility of the first 6 or 7 batsmen in the order to score the bulk of the runs. The rest is a bonus.

Put pressure on the batsmen by bowling line and length with great consistency.
Make the batsman play all the time. The more he plays, the chances of dismissing him quickly are bright.
Bowling no-balls and wides will be asking for trouble. That also delays over-rate.
Frustrate the batsmen with tight, miserly bowling. Think and bowl to the field set by the captain.
Make the batsmen earn their runs. Do not gift them away by bowling loose deliveries.
Concentrate on every ball you bowl. Bowl to the set field and plan.
Do not get panicky if a boundary is scored. Stay cool and think properly.
Conceding boundaries will only ease pressure on the opponents.
Never bowl to the batsman's advantage, if you have spotted it.

It is usually the best and most experienced player who becomes the captain.
He should lead by example, should command respect (not demand it!)
He should never forget that he is also one among the players.
He should try and make best use of the talent-resource available in the team.
It is his moral duty to have concern for other players.
He should not hesitate to consult others when short of ideas.
He is responsible for the team's performance, esp. bad!
The ideal position for the captain is near the centre of action. This will enable him to study the batsmen, the pitch and be easily available near the bowler for any tactical help.


Never forget the basic techniques and etiquettes of Cricket..
Use all the available protective gear for physical safety - boosts confidence.
Always play with a positive attitude (in the nets as well as in the match) and give your best to the team.
Never under-estimate the opponent or never get over-confident. Be self-confident.
Have belief in your own skills and you will perform well.
Commitment, discipline, dedication, determination and involvement to the team and the game itself are absolutely essential to succeed.
Results are achieved only if the players combine as a team.
Do not panic at any stage. Keep your cool and think properly.
The result of the match is immaterial so long as you have played the game in its true spirits and the best of ability.
With team balance as objective, only the best eleven players will be playing the match. Others should assist in duties like scoring, helping their team-mates on the field, etc. These are also part of this team-game. That is also 'Cricket'!
Always make a sincere attempt at whatever you do on the field.
Failing to make an attempt is blameworthy, whereas failing to succeed in the attempt is not.
Never argue with the umpire’s decision.
Be honest when you make the appeal to the umpire. Do not mislead him.
Cooperation with the captain of the team in every regard will strengthen team-spirit. Respect the captain and his decisions.
Avoid shouting at others esp. on the field.
Hone your cricketing skills with regular practice. There is always scope for improvement. There is no end to learning!
Consistency is the watchword. Always look to perform better than the last time.
Stay focused on the job (match or practice) without losing concentration.
Play the game in its right spirits and enjoy playing it. That is why Cricket is here!
Play in the 'nets' as if you are playing in a match. Do not be casual.
If you fail to prepare, then prepare to fail.
Play with a will to win. When the going gets tough, the tough should get going!
Experience the special joy of being part of the winning team. There is nothing like it! At the same time, be able to appreciate any good things the opponents show. "Sporting gestures" go a long way in keeping a good rapport with one and all.
Never become proud of your brilliant performances. Try to forget them then and there itself and be ready to do it again, in a better way. Learn to be humble.
Never indulge in unnecessary conversation with the opponents on the field. Avoid "sledging". It is of no good at all!
Diet: Healthy food habits have a direct relation to your performances at all times! Avoid "parties" prior to a match.
Sleep: Good rest is a must esp. before a match. There is nothing like a "good night's sleep" to make you fresh and energetic, both mentally and physically.
Never be ashamed to learn from others. There is much to learn from watching others. Be observant.
Become a "cricketer" not merely a cricket player! A "good cricketer" is closest to a "complete sportsman"!
If Cricket is taken in its right perspective, it will make you a good useful person in society.
Read about Cricket. Imagine Cricket. Be mad about Cricket. But NEVER EVER neglect studies. If you do, you will be "stumped"!
Always remember, no player is greater than this wonderful game of Cricket.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Newspaper clippings of our matches

It has always been a great thrill to see our own names appearing in the newspapers for a good performance on the field for our teams. Those who score at least 20 runs or take 2 wickets will find their names in the match's brief scores that the press reports in its sports columns. When I began my cricket career, much talk was about that and often was a teasing point that I noticed with others referred as 'playing for paper scores?'. In one of my very early matches for our college, I had taken just one wicket and was disappointed that I could not qualify for this 'paper score'. Lo and behold! The next morning after we won the match, I was so thrilled to see that someone had added my name in that list and made it as two wickets! My hairs stood on end on seeing the name but I had not deserved it. Anyway, little did I know then, that it was the only undeserving occasion, the first and last. Numerous performances later on got its deserving place. Here is the first one that appeared as a headline in my debut match for The Mysore Gymkhana. This time, it was a real thrill. Here are clippings of my first two matches:
Some old performers in this, my second season in the clipping below.
Probably my inspiration was from my cousin B.S. Chandrasekhar's clippings which his father B.S.Subramanyam 'albumed' and used to showed us with great pride. I had seen it as a boy and that was always in my mind. I remember asking Chandra's mother for a cricket cap when she showed us a suitcase full of his prized caps from various teams he played. I can still recall that scene and my disappointment when she replied, "Sorry, they are not the ones to give anyone". I did not know then, the importance at all of "winning a cap" as it is called in cricketing terms!

In 1981, I was already playing for the Mysore Zone Under-25 team for the second time. This has an interesting little story. I took 6 wickets and Sanath took 4 [See headline]. Before that during the luncheon, we had eaten a few 'poories' [I remember it was at Indra Bhavan] - he six and me four. But the number of wickets were interchanged! He later played for Karnataka. Mysore zone won the match easily.
MOMEMT OF GLORY, personal best also:
The Mysore Gymkhana had won all seven matches in the league [and got promoted to the 3rd division, the happiest thing] and the quarter final in 1983. This was the semi-final on a rain affected turf wicket [KSCA Stadium] where batting was very difficult. Winning the toss, our team made a poor decision of batting first and were soon defending our paltry score. At the end of the first day, I had all 7 that fell and on the next morning, Kashi could not latch on to a tough chance that could have turned the match. But their last 3 wickets held on to overtake our score, but never easily. I finished with my best of 8-50.
Same venue, 1986. One of my best innings against a team that boasted 7 Ranji Trophy players. We were never going to win as we had lost early wickets when I went in. I can still remember the shots I played esp. to Sharad Rao who was at that time playing for Karnataka. In one over, I hit 5 boundaries, including a no ball. The third was worst and a lucky one too as it was a bouncer that flew past my head off the edge of the bat. But the one I still can 'feeeeel' is the one I played in his next over's first ball which I took it on the rise and put it away back over his head for four. I hung on for a while but was out attempting a long-off six. Caught [late] Ranjit Khanwilkar bowled Shavir Tarapore 64. Had he missed it, it was a six alright. We soon lost the match, but with some resistance.
Mid-way through the 1986 season, one J.C.Srinath [the world knows him now!] had joined our ranks with great potential as an all-rounder. We had a long partnership together to save the match when a win though within reach, was not possible. This was after I enjoyed taking 7 wickets on this Maharaja's College turf wicket, which very soon got reverted to the old jute matting. FOUR WICKETS IN SIX BALLS -- ALL BOWLED!
After a poor first spell, I bowled the end overs when the match was seemingly far from our reach. They were sitting pretty, lot of wickets in hand and a few more runs to get. I was bowling the 29th [out of 30]. Lo and behold! My rhythm was back and so were four batsmen in that over, ALL OF THEM BOWLED! It was W-W-o-W-W-o - over! The match was now with us when the last over remained. Guruprasad bowled it and there was a run out. We had turned the match!! The paper misses to report this rare feat! I was given the Man of the Match prize from the Guest, A.V.Jayaprakash, which was a cricket shirt.
Ten wickets in the match for a bowler does not occur often, esp. in the club matches as two-innings matches are far and few. I was happy The Mysore Gymkhana entered the final through one such performance besides others' contributions in 1994 .

Next year, there was a repeat, but on a higher stage, the final!

Year 2000 has been a good one for The Mysore Gymkhana. We won the first division league and later went on to win another feather in the cap - the "Special Tournament" beating 3 better teams from Bangalore, convincingly. This was another personal moment of glory. After an enjoyable and productive bowling spell, it was pleasing to hear the Chief Guest of a small function organized at the KSCA, Javagal Srinath showering praise on me as well as our P.Ashok. [Read] The way we crushed the heroes is worth remembering for decades!
It was me with the willow this time having got yet another good opportunity to save the face of our team from a debacle. At one stage we were 12 for 5 and recovered to 149 for 9. This was when No.11 Vedraj joined me at the crease with me also on zero. Vedraj got out at 24 but not before he helped me add a century partnership - probably my best when the chips were down.
Again with the bat, for my highest score for The Mysore Gymkhana - 94.


Score-book preparation and maintenance was a responsibility I undertook myself on behalf of our tennis ball cricket team (Dumma Vasu's team - more on it later). In the meantime, international cricket records interested me through sports magazines and I found it fascinating. What I would do with this tennis ball cricket scores was to work out simple statistics of our players and prepare a sheet to discuss at the ground that fascinated others too. This interest followed me even after I began regular league cricket with the cricket ball. I had developed by habit of maintaining a diary [inspired by my late great grandfather] and this helped me to maintain a separate record of the matches which I entered as and when I played , esp. my bowling analysis. [This book is still in the running!]. It went on and on for many years until one day I felt I should count the number of wickets that have fallen from my bowling. It was 859. So from then on, I knew ONE THOUSAND was near and would come soon. I tracked every wicket as it came by and I knew that my bowling had sent back the one thousandth batsman when P. Ashok caught the ball at long on at the SAI ground in Bangalore in May 2002. It was not a moment I enjoyed because we were not winning that match and all I did was tell Ashok about the landmark as soon as he caught it. It took 24 years for this personal landmark to be reached. I am not the only one in club cricket to have done it as there are quite a few who have played more cricket and with more wickets, but I must say that I might be the only one keeping track of all my own wickets of all the matches I play. I have enjoyed this habit! Here is how I keep the minimum entries. This is a page showing one of my recent and successful league seasons that also helped our club win the shield.

A few weeks after that one thousandth wicket came by, a good friend asked casually what's new. We were meeting after a long long time and since he too was a cricketer for our club, I told him about that landmark and that our club was winning [as usual]. Being connected to the Press, he caught me. He thought it was a remarkable achievement and wanted it to get it out in print, which I really did not want. He cornered me and I had to give way and also give my photograph! This is the first time the individual picture appeared in print! That was the remarkable achievement!

In June 2002, soon after this appeared in the paper, I posted it to my friends with this message:

I think you know that I have been playing a bit of Cricket all these years. Since 1978-79 to be precise. Recording my own match performances (because no one else did it for me!) was an old habit which I have persevered. This record has now revealed a statistically important figure concerning the number of wickets captured by me. Believe me, it has crossed ONE THOUSAND. I am happy to share this revelation with you.
But that was never my goal. The real goal IS always to to try and win the game for the team. Individual efforts and figures have value only if it contributes to the cause of the team's performance and outcome of the game. At the end of the day, what satisfies me more than anything else is to be on the winning side.

There may be a few around, who also have crossed this magic figure of 1K but never keep track. Mine has come to light only because I kept track and recently bothered to total all of them. Probably, I may be one of the few medium-pace bowlers to have done it playing mostly on week-ends while there may be few others who have played more than me and captured more as well.I had the privelege of attending camps twice at Pune where
former Indian Wicket-keeper late "Nana" Joshi was the coach. He had written a letter to me advising me to 'forget the good performances then and there itself after the match and be ready to do better the next time'. Actually I was already of the same mould and his advise only strengthened it.

I have attached a couple of files. One contains the image of the featured article (on yours truly) that appeared in the local newspaper recently. The other one is a rare photograph of me returning after a memorable spell of 6-17, which had a hat-trick in the final at Nagpur on the last day of December 2001. I must tell you about this hat-trick (my third one). The first one was bowled leg stump. The second, middle stump. The new
batsman was sent in with instructions to cover all the stumps to save the hat-trick. He covered. But my third successive in-swinger managed to curl in and kissed the off stump!!

Hope you have enjoyed this mail.


Here are some responses from well-wishers:

Dear Dinu: Heartiest CONGRATULATIONS! We are delighted!!

And, we are all proud of YOU!

What makes your 1,000th cricketing "scalp" unique is you’ve achieved it without fanfare, media blitz, or corporate sponsorship/incentive. On your own steam — with sincerity, passion, dedication, determination, and sublime grace.

… If only you’d had a Godfather, juxtaposed by that extra bit of luck, you’d have surely played for India… Perish the thought, all the same, because you’ve, quite truly, reached a novel summit, which many would only dream of — but, seldom attain!

You’ve done it — in style, yes. With the right temporal mix. To quote Earl Nightingale: "Attitude is the reflection of a person, and our world mirrors our attitude."

Our wholehearted congrats, on your roseate apotheosis, once again!

Much affection/Raj, Shobha, Javvy, and Sanjiv

PS: Got to know about your signal feat through Pushpa, too. Your great pal, Refli, is just as much delighted!

(Raj, my well-wisher... you can see who he is through the links)


Hi Dinoo,

Received your email and was so excited to learn that you have taken more
than 1000 wickets. That's an outstanding achievement. But it does not
surprise me. You deserve it. Your knowledge of the game and the way you
practice, has paid you dividends. I am so proud that I had an opportunity
to play with you. Unfortunately, I regret that I was unable to continue
playing with you. Anyway, be very proud of yourself. Congratulations on
your awesome achievement and continued success in your future endeavours.
Please keep me posted on Gymkhana's matches.
Yours lovingly,

(Our team's captain for a long time, now settled in the US)


Dear Dinu,

I am fine and hope the same from your end, received your mail in connection
with your stupendous acheivement of reaching a very important milestone in
anyone's career of claiming 1,000 wickets in all forms of cricket. The
statistical part of it is okay but the important point to be appreciated is
that you could keep a track of it despite your other committments " Hats off
to you" in addition to you all your colleagues, players, last but not the
least your family needs to be congratulated for all the support, criticism,
and compliments they would have payed to you in your endeavour.

I have always admired you first as a person and then as a dedicated
cricketer who goes all out to do the best and then leave the rest to god. I
am so fortunate that I could play little bit of cricket with you as my co
player and also to have played under esteemed captainship.

Yours affectionately,

(My long time team-mate for CSIR)


Hi Dinu,
Thank you for your mail. Apologies for the late
response. I am very happy to learn about your new
record and read with delight, your account of what
must be a crowning glory in your 20 + yrs in the game.
It was great to see your hat trick photo and the news
article; though I'm sorry to note that it is hardly
the media coverage worthy of a cricketer of your deeds
and stature. I hope your story will be an inspiration to all young
fast bowlers in Mysore. You had always been an
inspiration to me early on from the time I played the
game back in 1990. I remember the thrilling sight of
watching you and JS in action together that year in
the league finals and I still remember your long and
graceful run-up to the wicket and that effortless
high-arm action and follow through. It was a good
education for me and on certain occasions when I was
bowling at my best, I would adapt your style with
wonderful results. In later years, it was also a
privilege to face you in a match and you certainly
made me think a lot and take on the amazing variety
you let loose. It was also very kind of you to devote
some time to try and iron out my problems with the
game and I can't think of any other senior cricketer
who would have taken the trouble to handle youngsters
patiently when approached; definitely not in the same
calm and manner you possessed.
I sincerely hope that the blessed authorities in
Mysore will set aside personal vendettas and other
prejudices and focus on bringing back the glory of
Mysore cricket; should that ever happen, it would be
great to know you're actively involved. Meanwhile I
will raise a toast to your achievement and will look
forward to hearing from you.

Thanks and regards,


(An ardent cricket follower who played with our group)


Dear Dinu,

I would like to appologise for my late reply, since I was out for some time from my office. I am very delighted to know your wonderful performance and great achievements!!!. It is really unimagenable. I am extreamely happy to say now that I have played for many years ( app.10 years) with such a wonderful cricketer. Infact I have learned profession in cricket from you only. I also have the previlage to say that I had the opurtunity to play under your captaincy. If I take my cricketing periods I think I could perform very consistentely either with bat or ball. I remember that you showed so much confidence on me whenever get in to bat and bowl. It brings me the sweet olden days memaries. Now I am really missing to play cricket with you.

You also showed yourself as a role modal for others espicially for youngsters and me as well. It is not you missed play for Karnataka or India, but they really missed to see the wonderful cricketer.

I really don't have words to praise you. I know much more achievements are awaited in near future. I also find the opurtunity to play cricket with you once again.

With regards


(My CFTRI team-mate)


Dear Dinu,

Received your mail. Accept my hearty congratulations on achieving a rare feat of 1000 wickets in the cricket matches you have played. I feel that only very few would have achieved such a feat. I am very glad that I was a part of the few wickets you took with my catching as wicket keeper and a very few as a fieldsman. I recollect those wonderful moments when we enjoyed the game. I had no goals set and I played the game to simply enjoy myself.

Do keep in touch.

Yours truly,


(Lakshminarasimha, former batsman/wicket-keeper for TMG)


Dear Dinakar,
Thanks for the wonderful e-mail. It was nice reading it especially the hattrick part.
As discussed earlier the article in SOM could have been written better but I am sure you must have received a lot of congragulatory message. Is your team doing anything about it. The record is all the more creditable as you are a week-end player.
All the best again.
With warm regards,

(It was this Niranjan Nikam who cashed upon my very casual revelation which he saw to it that this landmark came to light, so publicly.)


Hearty, hearty & very hearty Congratulations dear Dinakar,
After reading your mail & the attachmant, I indeed feel privileged that I know you at my personal level - as I have always felt, u r certainly a national class cricketer in our CSIR family. I also feel bad that as a govt. rules governed orgn., CSIR has not been able to give you your due in terms of recognition and award despite your over two decades of contribution to CSIR cricket. I wud suggest that u may kindly bring the 'star of the week' article to the kind notice of President, SPB.
Let me also congratulate Mrs. Dinakar on your grand accomplishment(s). All this wud not have been possible without her support, as the saying goes, 'behind every successful man there is always a woman'.
Best regards to you & Mrs. Dinakar.

(He was our Secretary for a few years)


That is an awesone feat by any standards! CONGRATS! First for all, thanks
for all the years of good fun cricket we played together since I was in
primary school all the way to my coming here. Secondly, your book keeping.
It takes a lot of disicpline and application to do that sort of stuff
especially over a long period of time. I am amazed at your fitness to keep
playing the game at that level [no small feat for a pace bowler!].

This is excellent news. Hope some this rubs off to our galaga - i recently
read that he has retired from test cricket. The article made some comments
that he had made about not being complete etc - But he is only behind the
great Kapil dev in terms of wickets for a fast bowler! Surely, he should be
satisfied with that accomplishment!

Anyway, Congrats again. It is fun to think of those good old days...


(Stylish batsman for TMG, street-mate whom I have seen from his cradle-days)


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Collection of Autographs of cricketers

Collecting autographs of Test Cricketers has been a great fancy ever since the game has been internationalized. They are treasured possessions and showed to friends and others with great pride. Taking them by hand after meeting has its own pleasure - because earlier, meeting them was not a chance that came by often and one had to be lucky to be able to do that. I remember asking my grand-aunt who was the mother of B.S.Chandrasekhar to get autographs of cricketers for me through him!! Of course, that enthusiasm of a young boy did all that without understanding how trivial for them these are! Opportunities to meet or even have a 'darshan' of cricketers never came by, but when it did, we were ready with the little autograph books, eagerly looking for any chance of having one in our book. I have managed a few. Let me begin with sharing four of my *treasures* that have not been got by hand, but by mail.

I had come to know that National Cricket Teams respond to fan mail. Individual cricketers have done that with great enthusiasm as well, including Sir Donald Bradman and Sunil Gavaskar. They have spent many hours writing letters to their fans. I used to write letters to the captains of teams when they come to Bangalore for a Test Match and mail it with the address of the State Cricket Association. They were duly passed on to the addressee and have promptly responded to my request for autographs of the entire team and mailing it back using the SASE. I feature here four of the many I have got because these are personally autographed while the rest were the printed reproductions which makes no sense!

I had written to Bishen Singh Bedi when England toured India. But to my great surprise, I got this one from him on the BCA letterhead! [I also wrote to Tony Greig, the England Captain and he responded too - this time, I had sent his picture on which I wanted his autograph. Shown at left]. In this, I had the problem of identifying whose signature is which, esp. some were very tricky! In the meantime, there was a Tamil magazine "Ananda Vikatan" which had pictures of them with autographs printed on their own pictures. Using this as a guide, I could identify all those. See below:

Australian Tour to India, 1979. Kim Hughes was the captain. See Allan Border's autograph also.Allan Border's 1986 Australian Team

John Wright's New Zealand Team, 1988.

Around the same time I had written to Tony Greig [above], I had done the same to Sunil Gavaskar sending him a magazine [Sportsweek] clipping of his picture. His promptness in returning it with my request honoured, was astounding.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Cricket and me, looking back

This picture was taken by my Sri B.S.Subbakrishna [eldest brother of B.S.Chandrasehkar, also my first cousin] who was visiting Mysore from Chicago, USA in April 2007. He wanted a picture of me on that famous pavilion at Maharaja's College Ground. Incidentally, my favourite ground and on which I had the good opportunity to play 110 matches! The letter "L" on the "Pavilion" there took a hit from a sixer hit by { in 196_ } . That letter was tilted for a few decades, as if to remember that great hit from the middle. It has since been set right. Sri Subbakrishna remembered his days with the Sunny Side.
My third year playing with the regular cricket ball got me in to the Mysore Zone team, 1981, through The Mysore Gymkhana.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

A couple of my cricket cartoons

Roy Ullyett cartoon in The Daily Express celebrates Laker's achievement, England v Australia, Manchester, July 31, 1956.
Jim Laker had taken 19 wickets in that Test Match, still a world record.
I am not a Roy Ullyett but a couple of them have "happened", much to my own joy! I used to enjoy Ullyett's work carried by Sportsweek in the 1970s.

This is my original. I was bowling in our Mysore Gymkhana nets one evening when this idea flashed after seeing some of the bowlers bowl very short.

When Mysore Zone were in Tumkur in 1981, our manager V.P.Mylevaghanam, a jolly good man, renown for his great abilities and gift of gastronomy and gluttony, shared a joke or an incident [I'm now not sure] while he walked the boys back to the hotel room after dinner. This one is based on that.