Tuesday, September 15, 2009

All time greatest Criceters

List of luminaries with brief biographies, often true. (Part 1)

Ranjit Singhji:
One of the first great Indian cricketing heroes. Singhji was "The cricketer
formally known as "Prince"". His most famous exploits include obtaining a UK
visa and work permit and inventing the Leg Glance, a move whereby when
friends' sisters walks by in a short skirts you make a sweeping cricket shot
action imitation thereby looking at their legs but not getting caught.
Famously, Ranjit Singhji once fell ill after a mixing some bad milk in his
cup of Darjeeling and could only bowl a single over. In spite of this he got
3 wickets through judicious use of line and length. This is immortalized
today in the famous "Corridor of Uncertain Tea". He names lives on to this
day in the form of the tournament named after him, the "Coca-Cola Cup".

Gundappa Viswanath:
Widely considered the greatest left-handed batsmen from Andhra with a
moustache to play in the 60s, in Indian History. Played several crucial test
innings for India, many times pulling India back from the brink of complete
disaster, taking them to mere comprehensive defeats. He was a daring, brave
batsman who stood fearless in the face of the quickest bowlers, primarily
because he was blinded by his moustache. Renowned for his deft footwork, he
once, after being bowled for duck, moonwalked all the way back to the
pavilion. His first name means "Fat Papa" in Tamil and this ensured constant
victory for India against the Sri Lankans who could not bowl at him with a
straight face.

Sunil Gavaskar:
The first big international Indian cricket star. Scored thousands upon
thousands of runs in a career that spanned several millions of balls left
outside off-stump. He was affectionately known as Sunny, the Little Master
and that little Prick though the first two were rarely used. He was a
tireless team player and inspiring captain who often shouldered a lot of the
batting burden and most of the match fees single-handedly. Gavaskar was a
cricketer who patiently waited for the loose ball and once did so for three
whole days in a limited overs match before stadium security politely asked
him to leave. Gavaskar became the captain of India in 1982 taking on the
mantle from Srinivasaraghavan Venkataraghavan, an accomplished cricketer
himself, who retired from cricket in protest after it became mandatory to
wear kits with one's full name on the back.

Ravi Shashtri:
Holds the record for maximum sixes hit in one over with 6 against Tilak Raj
in Bombay. Shastri would have hit more but little Tilak had maths homework
and a Social Studies test the next day and we all know how bad 7th standard
CBSE is. Shastri was one of our first great all-rounders and once, in a
remarkable game in the 1987 tour of Ooty and Coimbatore, Shastri bowled
himself around the legs. Ravi Shastri was the heartthrob of millions of
women in the late 80s and early 90s and was considered a great looker. This
has now been found to be an error due to primitive TV broadcasting
technology. He is now a well-known and respected cricket commentator.
Fiercely patriotic, he recently pegged India to win all the one-days in the
South African tour of Sri Lanka.

Kapil Dev:
Explosive with the ball, dynamic with the bat and ridiculous with the
English language, Kapil Dev was the life of many humorous post-match press
conferences. Dev often stood alone in the face of adversity and dragged
India out of tight spots. His 175 run innings in Tunbridge Wells is a
classic and some of his shots continue to orbit the Earth to this day
bouncing off space stations and interfering with TV broadcasts (see Ravi
Shastri above.) Kapil Dev was also one of the first few cricketers to make
it big in the world of advertising and synonymous with the caption: "Boost
is the secret of my enema. Our enema. (Smile)" Nowadays he is a successful
entrepreneur and often appears on TV when he roots for India from his heart
saying: "India needs to play the games with the heart and the tactics is
nice if then the whole together comes... err... boost is the secret of my

Krishnamachari Srikkanth:
A dynamic one-day player who pioneered the technique of repeated letters in
one's name for good luck. Srikkanth was an explosive opening batsman who
often stepped out of his crease and swung his bat with great gusto only to
be stumped down leg side. He holds the record for maximum consecutives world
cups without a haircut (4). Kris Srikkanth was the quintessential South
Indian in the team who rapidly learned Hindi while playing for India,
leading to an average of well over 4 run outs per match in the process.
Today Kris is a passionate cricket commentator who can say "Oh shit, sorry"
in over 14 north Indian languages.

Venkatesh Prasad:
If Akthar is the "Rawalpindi Express" then for many years Venkatesh Prasad,
a key part of the bowling attack, was affectionately called "The Slow
Bangalore Passenger That Is Currently Broken Down At Palakkad Station.
Passengers approach ticket counter for refund please." Despite several key
wickets, Prasad was not a pacey bowler but instead used a bewildering array
of slow, slower and slowest balls to vex batsmen. In the 1992 World Cup he
bowled a slow one to Wasim Akram that has not reached the batsman to this
day. He was a pioneer of the "Intimidation" school of fielding whereby you
do not run for the ball but merely try to stop it by looking at it gravely.

Anil Kumble:
Named after the Anil Kumble Circle in Bangalore, where he grew up learning
to bowl, Kumble continues to be one of the spinning maestros in the country.
However he is not a big mover of the ball but instead unleashes a repertoire
of balls so complicated even he does not know what he is doing. He holds the
record for having captured 10 wickets in a single test innings but honestly
cannot explain how. The author has a particular grouse with Mr. Kumble for
having released a shitty cricket video game that the author's brother forced
him to buy. The game has graphics reminiscent of a Rohrschach Test and game
play marginally more engaging than digging one's nose. Kumble is frequently
a useful all-rounder and was the first Indian to achieve the "supreme"
double of 400 wickets taken and 4000 misfields.

Sachin Tendulkar:
No one makes fun of Sachin. Not even me.

Sanjay Manrekar:
Manjrekar is an exciting top order batsman with an amazing repertoire of
shots. If you play him in that stupid Anil Kumble game that is. In real life
he was often called a text-book cricketer, in the sense that watching him
bat was like reading a macro-economics text book. Sanjay Manjrekar was full
of technique and single-handedly developed 2567 ways of padding upto an
off-spinner. His moment of glory was during the Ashes Test of 1994 when
Imran Khan approached him and accepted defeat as several of the Pakistani
players were collapsing from brain inactivity. Manjrekar valiantly declined
and went on to score an astounding century in just under a fortnight.

Venkatpathy Raju:
With tremendous movement off the pitch especially in windy gusty weather,
Venkatpathy Raju is one of the lightest players to have ever played the
game. His bowling, on the other hand, was tricky especially because of a
complete lack of speed. Raju bowled with such little pace and his ball took
so long to come that batsmen often practiced facing him by getting friends
and relatives to courier cricket balls overnight to them through local
courier companies.

That was the first edition of this special blog series on Indian cricket
greats. Hope you enjoyed these brief character profiles and you often burst
out, like Azhar, with the words: "Wow!! This I will do for free?" More
exciting profiles of Indian cricketing heroes coming soon. Stay tuned.


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