Former India cricketer Pranab Roy, basking on Bengal’s win over TNCA XI on Tuesday as its coach, fondly recalled winning the Buchi Babu All India invitational cricket tournament title with the State Bank of India.
“Buchi Babu is always very close to my heart. We won the championship. That was long ago, maybe in the 90s. We were the champions!” he reminisced.
He said that Chennai is very dear to his family. For it was at Chepauk that he made his India Test debut against England in 1982, 26 years after his father Pankaj had a then World record 413-run opening partnership in Tests with Vinoo Mankad. It was also in Chennai that his father scored his second Test century against England in India’s first-ever Test victory in 1952!
“People talk about the Chennai crowd, that it is a cricket-loving crowd. I can vouch for it. Because when I made my India debut, I had replaced (Krishnamachari) Srikkanth. Srikkanth is a local guy.
“So, I was expecting some tough comments or tough behaviour from the crowd. But the crowd was absolutely brilliant! They made me feel comfortable and supported me all through. It was absolutely amazing! I never thought that I could expect that kind of good, healthy support from the crowd. So, I will always remember that!”
He said Buchi Babu tournament has always been “one of the toughest tournaments” and shared an amusing anecdote from his playing days in the event.
“I still vividly remember - I was batting with (Mohammad) Azharuddin for State Bank of India against Hyderabad XI on a matting wicket in Chennai. Marina beach side. The Hyderabad boys were trying to bowl bouncers to Azharuddin and he came up to and told me: ‘Look at this, they are my colleagues! And now they are bowling bouncers to me!’”
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