Madhya Pradesh selector recalls memories of facing young Waqar Younis, Tendulkar missing PAK tour

Kirti Patel has many interesting tales to tell from his years of experience as a First Class cricketer.

Kirti Patel, former cricketer   -  Vijay Soneji

Kirti Patel has been a constant presence here in Rajkot for this match between Kerala and Madhya Pradesh. He has accompanied the Madhya Pradesh team as a selector.

He has many interesting tales to tell from his years of experience as a First Class cricketer. Like the one about facing a very, young raw Waqar Younis during the India Under-19 team’s tour of Pakistan in 1987-88.

Kirti was part of a strong Indian team that included the likes of Ajay Jadeja, Nayan Mongia, Aashish Kapoor and Ashish Winston Zaidi. “Waqar was very quick even those days and bowled well on flat, batting tracks,” he says. “He used to get reverse swing too.”

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There were a few other youngsters from that Pakistan team that went on to become stars, like Inzamam-ul-Haq, Mushtaq Ahmed and Basit Ali.

 “I remember Mushtaq bowling some very good googlies in that series,” he says. “We won that series 1-0.

He has another interesting anecdote about that tour, of someone who didn't make the Indian team.

"Sachin Tendulkar had played with us in the selection-trails matches, but the Mumbai officials wanted him to play in the Ranji Trophy and thought he could make it to the Indian senior team if he did well."That's what happened.

Tendulkar went to Pakistan with the senior Indian team later on in 1989 and impacted the game like nobody ever had done before him.

Kirti also has fond memories of being thrilled to see his photo in the Sportstar magazine.

 “My picture appeared when I was the leading run-getter in the Ranji Trophy’s Central Zone matches,” says the former wicketkeeper-batter. “Getting featured in Sportstar meant a lot to cricketers of my generation. I used to get the magazine from a book stall at the Indore Railway station. And if you don’t reach there in time, Sportstar would be sold out.”

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