26 March, 2007

It is all in the game

I was travelling to Vellore by bus to accompany my sister who was about to move to Gujarat. Due to the World Cup fever, I took my Dad’s National Panasonic transistor. I tried to listen to the commentary but with lots of disturbances what all I could hear was India struggling with few top wickets fallen for mere 30 and odd runs against a country like Zimbabwe who were minnows then. Irritated of the disturbance in the transmission and the score, I switched off the transistor. After reaching my sister’s house, totally forgot about the game. Only after a wonderful dinner, realised about the game, and switched on the transistor to know the score had gone above 250. I could not believe myself. I probably thought my understanding of English was wrong. So I waited for the commentator to tell the score in detail. My heart was pounding with joy, though I could not believe it. After hearing the score in detail, and knowing that Kapil Dev had scored 165, I started jumping out of joy. I did not have anyone with Cricket knowledge to share my joy. The next morning rushed to the local newspaper shop to get the papers. I bought both of the leading English dailies. Read each and every line on the Cricket articles. It was a great game. Kapil was my hero, and still there were many players whom I liked.
Again I started travelling with my sister’s family to Ahmadabad, by Navajeevan express. My transistor was in hand with me. During our journey there was another match against England. Whenever the train stopped for some signal, I switched on to the transistor and there was a huge crowd next to me. Every boundary by Sandeep Patil were cheered by my fellow travellers. Mohinder Amarnath and Roger Binny excelled too. If I remember Madan Lal was also performing well. The game ended with a victory for India.
After few days, I was surprised, overwhelmed when I heard that India were to play against my favourite team West Indies. I decided to view the match. I went into IIM Student’s hostel where they had a medium black and white Television. I just went around the place the previous day. I felt as if I was having a pre-inspection of the pitch. The tempo was so high. I was happy with the viewing environment. I viewed the previous match along with some students by sitting on the floor. I liked the electric atmosphere.
The final day arrived. I was there and it was a great atmosphere. Each and every shot by Krishnamachari Srikanth was applauded. His cover drive off the knees is still remembered. When I met Srikanth in person in Edgbaston couple of years before, one of my friend Varadan mentioned it to Srikanth. My friend said that the shot is still in front of our eyes for which Srikanth gave his usual smile. After India ended up with a score of 175 or so, we were a bit tensed. Then when West Indies started playing it was ‘Jimmy’ who did the trick. Oh... What a bowler he was! We started getting hopes, after Viv Richards wicket fell. I was sad and happy. I was sad for Viv because he was my favourite batsman but felt happy that Indians were on to the road to victory. The rest is history. Oh...those moments!. Who could forget the spectator who was in conversation with Andy Roberts when he was returning back to pavilion. I was almost ecstatic, when my hero Kapil Dev lifted the world cup. Oh....what a wonderful time it was! In those days the teams had a great spirit. The players were not paid as much as they are today, but were of a class. I am proud that I have had wonderful days in the past when I was very young.
I know some of you wondering what this post is all about! What to do! How long are we going to keep talking about the past? Should we have to talk only about the past? Is there no hope in the future?
Let us turn the pages of history and try to learn from the past. We still have those heroes living amongst us. Why not BCCI take the experiences of stalwarts like Kapil, Sunil, Mohinder, Sandeep, Mohinder, Srikanth, Kirmani, Binny, Bedi, Shastri and many more whom I have missed? Dravid I pity you!


prabukarthik said...

idhai sollimanasai thethikkavendiyadhu dhaan!

but one thing, this team was the worst!!
All full time actors and part time cricketers!!

Balaji S Rajan said...

LOL! I do not have inside information about this present team. But they lacked many things those are required for the competetiveness. The media hype should reduce and the country should show interest in other sports too.

Kavi said...

Those were the days i guess. When life was a lot slower and cricket was still a gentleman's game!

To me, it doesnt matter who coaches. For the coach can bring only so much. It would be left to our batsmen and bowlers to do the talking. On the field !

Chakra said...


one correction... Kapil scored 175 not out... yes.. Thalaivar is great. I mentioned about that innings when I met him 6 yrs back at London. Don't ever talk abt Kapil to me.. i'll go on and on for ever with lot of excitement. :)

On the current team and WC, thanks to them there are lot of jokes that are doing rounds. One such was a modification of Gajini dialogue... find below..

எல்லாரும் நல்லா விளையாடி ஜெயிச்சு கப் வாங்க நினைப்பது தன்னம்பிக்கை.

ஒருத்தனுக்குமே விளையாட தெரியாம கப் வாங்க நினைப்பது கூமுட்டைத்தனம்.

Balaji S Rajan said...


Thanks for the correction. I knew it was above 165 but was doubtful whether it was 165 or 175. I was sure that he was not out. Those days the players were so dedicated and Kapil had done so much to Indian Cricket.

Balaji S Rajan said...


I agree those days life was a bit slower and the cricket was a gentleman's game.

Ganesh Venkittu said...

Balaji, you forgot to mention one thing, the thing that I remember the most...

In those times that you mention, I cannot seem to remember any household with a color TV other than Srikkanth/Ravi.....the whole Gang -- Apollo Raghu, Jayaraman, Ravi, Srikkanth, small boys like thavakalai will be there....it was the first SONY TV to my knowledge in Perungalathur (about 20 years back).

there was a certain charm to cricket as opposed to the way its played today....

let me mention my favorites.

1) tie test match -- gavaskars 2nd innings in chepauk...he will score two consecutive fours (cover drives) of Mcdermott before getting out.

2) Benson and Hedges final -- Srikkanth will score 93 in that match...L Siva will deceive someone for a stumping...the Kapildev will get somebody first ball out with a yorker..

3) the match that we lost to PAkistan in test cricket in bangalore...the pitch famously described as a "mine"....Gavaskar once again the standing man against the turn of Tauseef Ahmed but he will eventually go for a LBW I think and cry from the dressing room...

4) Amarnath's walk to the middle will always get the remark "paai padukkai thookindu varaan"..

5) Vengsarkar + kapildev to the rescue in Benson Hedges match against new zealand. Vengsarkar will score 6 2's in one over...the next over kapildev will score 6 2's..

those were the days..

Jeevan said...

Joy full memories you have about cricket. I am not big craze on cricket, but when it comes to world cup i wish to see India playing, this time is a big disappointment and very sad to see my fav Dravid with tears.

I have seen Srikanth some months back in Mayajaal at a function of MD patents. All of them were left free to enter inside the complex as he was paying for all.

Balaji S Rajan said...


I think roughly 26 years back. I do remember. Why all that? Even in your house around 30 people would have watched all those India-Pak match telecast by Doordarshan. There used to be "sorry for interruption... Some satelite link problem..." A standard format of interruption slide will be there often. Once on seeing such slide Rajkumar who lives near that Indira Gandhi statue said "Yedho... advertisement pottutanya... adhukkulla...".

Innocent people. If we had to watch match, we had to do other things at home before that. I cannot forget watching the matches in Ravi's house. SONY TV and the way his father used to receive us. Oh.. god it was more interesting to watch from their house than the stadium.

Nil knowledge Jagan, Mudassar all those title names were given during those time. Again the podi boys were asked to go and get peanuts from the local shop, for which they were given "Voo Bo".... meaning Vooka Bonus.

LOL... How can we forget those days.. Cricket is such a wonderful game to watch as well. I think a lot has changed.

Thanks for making me to recall those memories.

Balaji S Rajan said...


Yes... we have had wonderful time and the memories are keeping us happy. Good that you like to watch too. Keep yourself involved watching some sport regularly. It will help you a lot.

Dan said...

again a great nostalgic post. i didnt watch the match u have described but still watching kapil, sunil, ravi, srikanth were indeed nice moments. nowadays i am totaly out of touch with cricket.