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