[Click on picture for enlarged view]
Dennis Lillee at his peak was a joy to watch. There was no way I could watch at that time. All I had to be content with were to listen to radio commentary of Test Matches and then to buy Sportsweek magazine merely for its pictures that followed after the Matches. Cricket movies was really something that was unthinkable. So, the magazine pictures filled my appetite for admiration and imitation of players.
The above is a collage of two pictures. The top one is from Sportsweek Annual from 1977. At that time, I was only playing tennis ball cricket, mostly in our locality, street cricket as it could be called. An opportunity to play real cricket, meaning with the cricket ball, arrived in 1978 which I have blogged - you can read 'bragged' also - in an earlier post. Dennis Lillee's achievements in the 1970s need not be told as it is so famous. From what I had read, he was a fantastic bowler having a great fan following and a very popular character. His success reflected it and also his fighting spirit. I had seen a particular picture in that particular issue which I showed there. It had so much impression on me. It was such a thrilling picture, pullover on the shoulder, sweaty scalp and people applauding as he returns to the pavilion after a match winning spell against Pakistan!
Now a bit of the second picture for comparison. Twenty four years later, my moment came at Nagpur. I was returning to the pandal [no pavilion] after a good spell that was to be a match winning one. Our manager, Mr.Rajendra, who was a local there, had a film camera. He was the only one armed with it. It was still the pre-digital camera era or even the 'mobile phone era'. The next day he had already got the pictures printed and when he showed us the few he had taken of our team, I was delighted to see that he had taken this one. Immediately, I recalled that Lillee picture because of its impression in my mind and also that I was also having a pullover on the shoulder here! Looking at the picture, I felt 'Lillee-like', if not for my bowling, yet, my former team mate Srinivas has been callling me "Lillee" even before that and even now.
It gave me some more pleasure now to have successfully found that particular issue of Sportsweek and compare it!