Thursday, June 11, 2015

Man of the Match!

Swamy's house was very dear to me.  I felt it was like ours!  Such was the ambiance and since he was one of my favourite persons, whenever I went to Bangalore, I would never miss paying a visit to him I even chose to stay with him during my short cricket tours to Bangalore.  It was a great advantage also to me if [sometimes] our match was at the National College Ground which was actually a stone's throw away!  I knew it was a bit of a trouble for his ageing wife Seethamma [daughter of renown litterateur and English-Kannada Professor, S.V.Ranganna] to cook extra food when I stayed.  But a deep affection was magnetic. Swamy was the son of my grandfather's grandfather's sister's grandson! [click for a long story]  Never mind the confusion!  He was a wonderful person.  

In 1994, I was instrumental in turning the match around and winning it for our team. It was at the Central College Ground, my only game at that historic ground.  A strong Swastic Union Cricket Club needed just 6 runs in 2 overs. They appeared to sail through with 5 wickets in hand.  It was a 30-over tournament.  I had a poor first spell.  Now I was bowling the 29th over.  I have never fallen short of self-belief and my captain has always turned to me in crises to 'deliver the goods'.  I sometimes get a hunch that I get good rhythm in the run-up. I got, that evening.

Ball 1, no run.  Ball 2, clean bowled. Ball 3, new batsman, clean bowled.  Ball 4, no run. Ball 5, clean bowled. Ball 6, clean bowled!!  Suddenly they had only one wicket left and still 6 to get. I had shocked the opponents with four strikes that crashed through the defenses of hapless batsmen!  4 wickets in 6 balls [no hat-trick]. First ball next over from Guruprasad, they panicked and we won!  
A tornado had stuck a smooth sailing ship!  I can tell you, such spells are rare in all of cricket.  They just happen when least expected!

It was a dream spell for which I was awarded the 'Man of the Match'  [a Cricket Shirt was the prize].  I came to Swamy's house to stay for the next day's match at National College Ground.

The next morning, as we were sipping coffee in his verandah, he was reading the Kannada newspaper ಪ್ರಜಾವಾಣಿ.  He followed a bit of cricket.  Our match result had appeared in the sports page.  He turned to me with his happy face "ಪಂದ್ಯದ ಪುರುಷೋತ್ತಮ!" [Man of the Match] he exclaimed.  That was the opening sentence in the paper!  I was happy too, to see it, but it was unfortunate that the actual spell had not even been mentioned.  I asked for the clipping.  After I returned from the match that evening, he had written the date and kept the clipping ready.  Here it is:

We lost the second match and our team had no further part in the tournament.  But I will ever cherish with all the sweetness, that bowling spell and this paper clipping by my dear Swamy. 

1 comment:

ER Ramachandran said...

Superb! A great spell indeed! To take your team to victory in one's own shoulders when everything seemed lost..That was wonderful.

BTW, Our house was also a stone's throw from National college grounds! Right from primary, middle high and college I used to jump 2 walls to reach National high school grounds.First wall in front of our house in Uttaradhi mutt road where NUCC used to practice.Second wall in front of national college hostel. if you jump that you are in class!

Again, great bowling!