Srikkanth reminisces his 'best knock' as cricket returns to Thiruvananthapuram

The former India captain is proud of the century he made against a fast and furious West Indies attack way back in 1988.

Krishnamachari Srikkanth during an interaction. (File Photo)   -  V. Ganesan

It all happened three decades ago, but Krishnamachari Srikkanth hasn’t forgotten how fast Patrick Patterson bowled on that January morning at the University Stadium in Thiruvananthapuram.

But the swashbuckling opener met fire with fire and made 101 off 106 balls. Fifteen years before the advent of Twenty20 cricket, such audacious batting was hardly the norm, especially against a battery of four fast and furious bowlers.

“I would rate it as one of my best knocks ever,” Srikkanth told Sportstar over phone from Chennai on Tuesday. “Patterson was amazingly quick and world class. I would say he was one of the fastest bowlers I ever faced – maybe the fastest.”

The former Indian captain is proud of that innings because the West Indies attack was not just about Patterson.

“Winston Benjamin was pretty fast too, as was Winston Davis,” he recalled. “And there was Eldine Baptiste, too.” 

That team was led by Viv Richards, who remains the favourite batsman for many of this generation even.

But, he didn’t have to bat in that match. Openers Gordon Greenidge (84) and Phil Simmons (104 not out) ensured that, putting on 164 while chasing India’s 245 (which wasn’t  a poor score at all at that time).

Among those watching the game was former Kerala captain O.K. Ramdas.

“I still remember vividly some of the strokes played by Srikkanth,” he said. “It was thrilling to watch him play those lofted shots of his. Remember, those were the days when you batted according to the copy book, like Sunil Gavaskar.”

That match in 1988 was the last ODI hosted by this city. West Indies had won it by nine wickets and the seven-match series 6-1.

For fans of Caribbean cricket these days, such dominating performances are only a distant memory.

The fall of the mighty has been painfully spectacular. So much so, the abject capitulation to India in the recent Test series wasn’t exactly surprising.

But, West Indies could still be a force to reckon with in the limited overs format. After almost winning a game - they had to settle for a tie - and then actually winning the following one, Jason Holder’s men have kept the series alive.

And that has gladdened the city’s cricket fans, who are all eagerly looking forward to Thursday’s final ODI at the Greenfield Stadium.

After all, this is their biggest match since the one against the West Indies 30 years ago.