Monday, May 21, 2007

Memories of M.Chinnaswamy

I had the good fortune of spending a few brief moments with the great man, who made Cricket Test Matches a reality at Bangalore, M. Chinnaswamy [MC], of much revered memory. 

Our family was there at the wedding reception of BS Chandrasekhar. Karnataka had just won the Ranji Trophy for the first time in 1975. Most of the players were present and MC came later. We young boys were trying to identify/match the players' faces to those we had seen in the newspapers, with autograph books in hand. Looking at cricketers in flesh and blood was quite something! My grandfather [a sportsman of much fame in his days] introduced him to me. In turn, MC introduced Sanjay Desai to me - they had come together! I offered the autograph book, to which he said "nanna autographella yaakappa?" before obliging - his signature was already a bit shaky. Sanjay too put his in the next page. I had heard about MC during the first ever Test Match there the previous year [India vs West Indies] to which I had the good fortune of witnessing all five days with an 80-rupee season ticket.  All the stands were temporarily erected using planks and poles and the folding seats were of plywood. It was a Herculean feat in itself.

In 1983, Mysore Zone had won the SA Srinivasan Memorial tournament [under-25] for the first time and a function had been arranged here in Mysore. MC was the chief guest. My turn came to receive a pullover [sponsored by 'Prince' Sri Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wadiyar, who was also playing cricket in his college days] from MC. Someone next to him murmered something, probably about my recent prowess in that tournament.  Having heard it, he presented me a pullover saying: "Well done, put on some shoulders, young man" and then put his right hand on my left shoulder and then gave me an unforgettably warm hand shake. Perhaps it had an impression! How great the value of such names as SAS and MC became known to me as years passed by, having got a few opportunities to play at the stadium which was later aptly named after MC [though much against his wishes]. In fact, as it so happened, it was there that some of the best performances by me for The Mysore Gymkhana, both with bat and ball have happened.  On a personal note, I also have my best bowling figures here, in my career which is 8 wickets for 50 runs and one of my most memorable innings, 64 against the Ranji-stars-studded BUCC. The thrilling memories and those valuable autographs are much treasured and cherished.

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