You bowl, I hit !

” In the 1983 World Cup final, that exquisite square-drive off Roberts executed going down on a knee … timeless and heavenly … I will take that to my grave.” M P Anil Kumar on the one-man cavalry that was Kris Srikkanth.

Credit : Adrian Murrell/Getty Images

Both Imran Khan and Vivian Richards, the skippers of Pakistan and West Indies respectively, dittoed: If we knock over Srikkanth cheaply, the Cup should be ours. Kapil Dev, the Indian skipper, was equally emphatic: If Srikkanth strikes, there’s no stopping India. With three crackerjack half-centuries from five matches, and being the top scorer of the World Championship Cup in Australia (February-March 1985), it was but natural for all three skippers to identify Srikkanth as the likely match-winner in the Rothmans Cup played at Sharjah in November 1985.

In the event, Srikkanth flopped (4 runs vs Pakistan and 6 vs West Indies) and India bit the dust. It was so typical of the man: Belying his billing came so naturally to him. Continue reading

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How Ads are sucking the Fun out of Cricket

An Indian cricket fan waves the tricolour during a Test match between Australia and India in Mohali.

Pix Credit : Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/Reuters

When I told him that I do not watch IPL matches, the expression of disbelief on his face had to be seen to be believed. The bemused man was none other than the editor-in-chief of Rediff.com I started playing cricket in my alma mater (Sainik School, Kazhakootam, Kerala), and wore the school colours for two years. I was so passionate about cricket that despite the crammed day in the National Defence Academy and the Air Force, I would somehow steal morsels of the telecast or radio commentary to keep track of every match India played.

I still remember slithering out of a two-layered sleeping bag in the sub-ten-degree small hours of Leh to be ready to watch the first ball bowled at 4:30 am in an ODI between India and New Zealand played at Launceston (Tasmania) in February 1986. Continue reading

Heed the Cry of the Armed Forces

The Indian Jawan‘Fighter pilot !’ Whenever I introduced myself that way, while in service and now out of it, I could always espy a sense of awe and admiration.   Yet, I have forever regarded the infantry officer more than anyone else. For, I have been mesmerised by his mettle to command unquestioned obedience from the men he led into battle when everyone knew a likely death lurked round the bend. Continue reading

The Tsunami Warriors deserve our Salute

It was January 26, 2005. The familiar visage of my school chum riveted my attention to the television screen. The Doordarshan correspondent gushed while covering the sterling work being done by the crew of the Indian Navy’s anti-submarine frigate INS Taragiri in tsunami-ravaged Sri Lanka , especially in the worst-hit Galle and the surrounding Hikkaduva region in the southwest. That was the image of my classmate Commander G Prakash, the captain of the Taragiri. So, out of curiosity, I googled to find out whether he and his men had notched up reports in the media for their remarkable stint in Galle. Continue reading