Former first-class cricketers Salgaonkar, Shivalkar felicitated

At an event in Mumbai, former first-class bowlers Pandurang Salgaonkar and Padmakar Shivalkar regaled the audience with anecdotes from their playing days.

From left: Dwarkanath Sanzgiri, Milind Gunjal, Padmakar Shivalkar, Pandurang Salgaonkar, Sudhir Naik and Yajurvindra Singh.

From left: Dwarkanath Sanzgiri, Milind Gunjal, Padmakar Shivalkar, Pandurang Salgaonkar, Sudhir Naik and Yajurvindra Singh.   -  Special Arrangement

Pandurang Salgaonkar and Padmakar Shivalkar, two outstanding bowlers of different wares, have a common poignant cricket tale. They never played for India. Salgaonkar, a genuine fast bowler, finished his 63-match career with 214 first-class wickets. Shivalkar, a nagging left-arm spinner, played 124 matches and claimed 589 wickets. What if they never played for India! They have no regrets.

At a recent event in Mumbai, organised by IDBI Federal Life Insurance MD and former Mumbai cricketer Vignesh Shahane to felicitate Shivalkar and Salgaonkar and hosted by noted Marathi cricket writer Dwarkanath Sanzgiri, the two regaled the audience with anecdotes from their playing days. Giving them company were former India opener Sudhir Naik, and Maharashtra batsmen Milind Gunjal and Yajurvindra Singh.

“He was the fastest bowler of the time,” said Yajurvindra, recalling the Ranji Trophy match played on matting at Nasik in December 1974 when Salgaonkar broke Sunil Gavaskar’s finger with a ball that kicked from good length. “I have seen batsmen back away when facing Pandu. His pace was electrifying,” recalled Gunjal.

Shivalkar refused to blame anyone for not being able to play for India as his career clashed with some of the best left-arm spinners, Bishan Singh Bedi and Rajinder Goel. “It was destined. I can’t change things. So why worry about what I can’t change,” said Shivalkar.

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Known for his ability to rock the batsmen, Salgaonkar was at his best even as he remembered those painful days when he would wait for an opportunity to bowl for India. “It was my bad luck. God gave me many chances but it just happened that I missed out each of them, sometimes to illness and sometimes to injury. Once I was not included because the team feared repercussions from the opponents in retaliation to the bouncers I would bowl. My bouncers were vicious,” he noted.

For Shahane, it was his way of acknowledging the careers of Salgaonkar and Shivalkar. “As an ex-cricketer myself, I greatly admire and respect the immense contribution of both these renowned cricketers to the game. Their skill, knowledge, talent and commitment to the sport was exceptional and they are truly an inspiration to the next generation of cricketers,” Shahane said.

Among those who sat in rapt attention at the National Library Hall in Bandra, listening to Salgaonkar and Shivalkar, were renowned coach Vasu Paranjape, Test cricketers Chandu Patankar, Raju Kulkarni, Sanjay Bangar, Pravin Amre and Vinod Kambli.

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