‘Renaissance Man’ - Remembering Hyderabad legend M. V. Sridhar

Harimohan Paruvu, a former first-class cricketer, has written a poignant tribute to one of Hyderabad’s finest cricketers.

M. V. Sridhar played 97 matches in his first-class spanning 11 years . Photo: The Hindu Archives

It is a travesty of the game that a batsman as talented as M. V. Sridhar could not play for India. The list can be long — Hari Gidwani, K. P. Bhaskar, Surendra Bhave, to name a few. Sridhar was much loved and everyone who knew him talks about his warm heart. When Yuvraj Singh says, “It was tough to say no to him,” you can well visualise the genial nature of the Hyderabad batsman, who passed away in October 2017, aged 51.

When Sridhar’s family decided to document his achievements and present them in the form of a book, it could not have found a better author than Harimohan Paruvu, a former first-class cricketer from Hyderabad. Sridhar’s mother, Dr. M. Pushpa, and wife, Sagarika Melkote, took pains to put the author in touch with all the associates of Sridhar.

Paruvu devoted precious time to the project, contacted players and administrators who were connected with Sridhar, and the result, titled ‘Renaissance Man - Doc M. V. Sridhar’ is a poignant tribute to one of Hyderabad’s finest cricketers.

It was a pleasure to have known Sridhar, as a player and then as an able administrator — handling cricket operations for the Board. “Boss, I’ll get back,” he would promise and never failed to get back. It was not Sridhar’s nature to procrastinate and he did not believe in “off the record” talk. He would hide nothing and share information with the faith that the reporter would not twist the narrative.

A man of varied interests

Published by Global News, the book captures various aspects of Sridhar’s career. He was a qualified medical doctor and a man of varied interests. He was a brilliant negotiator, could handle delicate issues with amazing skills, loved his family, friends and was a delightful jazz drummer. And played cricket with distinction.

The book is replete with anecdotes that bring out the cricketer, administrator and the humane side of Sridhar. How he drove overnight from Hyderabad to Bangalore to watch V. V. S. Laxman break his record of 366 for the State. Laxman was 20 short of the target and Sridhar wanted to be at the venue to congratulate him. “When I was dismissed without scoring on my Ranji debut, Doc had spent a lot of time trying to console me and reassuring me that he believed I had a bright future. It meant the world to me that he had driven 550 kilometres overnight from Hyderabad just to be there. I didn’t get to 366. I think it is fitting that the record remains in Doc’s name,” Laxman writes in his Foreword.

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It was to Sridhar’s credit that the Monkeygate, involving Harbhajan Singh and Andrew Symonds, was handled so efficiently. “Sri bhai (Sridhar), along with Anil Kumble, didn’t leave my side, and their preparation played a huge role in winning the appeal against my punishment,” was how Harbhajan remembered that difficult phase of his career.

As assistant manager on that 2007-08 tour to Australia, Sridhar also doubled up as the media in-charge and came in for handsome praise. He became immensely popular with the media contingent and deserved the elavation to the post of manager, cricket operations of the BCCI.

Sridhar’s 97-match first-class career was a tribute to his calibre. A little over a month after resigning from his BCCI post, the lovable ‘Doc’ passed away.