To counter the famed Indian spin trio of leg-spinner B. S. Chandrashekhar and off-spinners E. A.S. Prasanna and S. Venkataraghavan, debutant Gordon Greenidge used his feet on way to 93 and 107 when Bengaluru’s Chinnaswamy Stadium hosted its first Test in November 1974.
On Monday, to beat the traffic jam caused by a road-show in the middle of the Capital, Greenidge used the Airport Express Metro and made it to the Ferozeshah Kotla.
The dashing opener made this flying visit to the Capital for a felicitation function by cricket equipment-major B. D. Mahajan (BDM) whose bat he regularly used in his playing days.
Any memories of the Kotla ground?
“No I don’t remember much of it,” was the answer to whether he could recall his second Test here, best remembered for Vivian Richards’ 192.
Quizzed about his views on the decline of West Indian cricket from the height of his playing days in the 1970s and 1980s, Greenidge, now 71, said, “It used to hurt me but it doesn’t hurt me anymore because I don’t watch cricket anymore. Only if it is Test cricket and only if it is about a young player, who I have heard about, I will try my best to go and watch that kid play and make my own judgement about what I feel of that player.
Asked about the white-ball formats, particularly the relevance of 50-over games against the popularity of T20, Greenidge said, “On a personal note, I would not like to see 50-over withdrawn and just T20 being played. I believe T20 is a spectator’s sport, and it is not any more a cricketer’s sport. Yes, cricketers play, but T20, for me, is like fast food. Test cricket is real cricket.
“ From Test cricket, we came to 50-over, then T20, now we are going to 10 over, where will we go from here maybe one over or two over per side. Keep the cricket alive but don’t banish Test cricket, that is the real cricket we all are here for, we all grew up with.”
Elaborating on the popularity of T20, he said, “One can go to work and then come back and take their family to watch the game for three hours, which is great and that is why I believe T20 cricket is purely for spectator’s enjoyment but not for the cricket.
“I am not criticizing T20, but it is not my game. Yes, it is here and it is probably here to stay. It is not something the general public wants to see go away. It is exciting and enjoyable, and it is good to watch but not a game that I watch on a regular basis. I am a Test match person, I love Test cricket. I have always done so. It is no criticism; it is just my personal opinion.
Asked about the growing instances of ‘mankading’ and its fairness, Greenidge was very candid, “I suppose it (Mankading) is not a pleasant way for anyone to lose their wicket. Some say it’s not within the spirit of the game. I think to get two or three meters out of the crease is also stealing, so what do you do? It is said that you can inform the umpire this is happening and should he continue, then you have the right to get the batsman out.
“On the part of the batsman, I don’t think it is rightful for that person to steal two or three meters while the bowlers get punished for marginally overstepping. Play within the rules of the game that we have to do, and hopefully, these things will not happen too often. I am certain that the authorities will probably introduce some kind of rule to curb this (Mankading) in the near future.”