Ric Charlesworth goes down memory lane with the bat

Hockey legend Ric Charlesworth feels India could win a medal at the FIH Men's World Cup.

The batsman, Ric Charlesworth, would achieve more fame in hockey, first as a player – he won an Olympic silver and the World Cup – and as a coach.   -  Biswaranjan Rout

When the fast bowler marked his run-up, the young opener was relieved: it was only about 10 yards. But, when he looked behind, he saw the wicket-keeper standing not far from the boundary.

So he asked him, “Are you alright, mate?”

“Don't worry about us. You take care of yourself,” the Queensland 'keeper ensured him.

The Western Australia batsman didn't see the ball. It flew above his head, and past the keeper too, for four byes.

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The bowler's name was Jeff Thomson, who, of course, went on to become arguably the world's fastest bowler of all time. The batsman, Ric Charlesworth, would achieve more fame in hockey, first as a player – he won an Olympic silver and the World Cup – and as a coach.

But, he continues to follow cricket closely, though. “I love to watch Virat Kohli and A.B. de Villiers. They are both wonderfully skilled and are capable of taking the game away from the opposition,” he told Sportstar, shortly after his talk at the Ekamra Sports Literary Festival that concluded, here, on Sunday.

He said that no fast bowler today could excite him. “I was a great fan of Wasim Akram, though. I have faced some great fast bowlers in my career in cricket, like Andy Roberts, Malcolm Marshall, Michael Holding, Vanburn Holder and Dennis Lillee,” he said.

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He said that Thomson was the fastest of them all. “He was the most difficult to face. He was very strong. I think he derived his strength as a labourer; he used to lift things, you know,” he said.

Charlesworth is disappointed that WACA, the world's fastest wicket, is not hosting Test matches any longer. “That is sad. I am not a fan of these drop-in pitches,” he said.

Looking ahead to India's tour of Australia, he said that how the touring fast bowlers perform would be important. “Australia has a bit of work to do, with the ban of Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft following the ball-tampering scandal. I feel the punishment was too harsh. I think those three were made scapegoats. It is hard to believe that the bowlers didn't know,” he said.

He would, of course, be following the Hockey World Cup, which opens, here, on November 28, even more keenly. “Australia, Netherlands and Belgium look the strongest teams. But, I believe India could win a medal,” he said.