A night to remember

Former Indian team captains— Bishan Singh Bedi , Chandu Borde, Ajit Wadekar, K. Srikkanth, Mohammed Azharuddin, Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid, G. R. Viswanath and-Pics: K. BHAGYA PRAKASH

The Karnataka State Cricket Association celebrated its Platinum Jubilee in a grand function at Bangalore’s Chinnaswamy Stadium on August 17. The KSCA President Anil Kumble and Secretary Javagal Srinath along with a wide group of players rallied together to host a ceremony high on warmth and gratitude. By K.C. Vijaya Kumar.

During November 1934 when Chennai was Madras, the Mysore team played the Ranji Trophy’s first ever match against the host. Mysore lost the match by an innings and 23 runs but that defeat laid the base for the visiting squad’s and its parent association’s subsequent growth that bequeathed some of India’s greatest cricketers to the willow game. And as the years passed, Mysore assumed a new name — Karnataka.

Cut to the present, the Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA) celebrated its Platinum Jubilee in a grand function at Bangalore’s Chinnaswamy Stadium on a Saturday night (August 17). The KSCA President Anil Kumble and Secretary Javagal Srinath along with a wide group of players, who have made both India and Karnataka proud, rallied together to host a ceremony high on warmth and gratitude. The highlights:

Captain’s corner

A long line-up of former India skippers added weight to the proceedings. The list included Chandu Borde, Ajit Wadekar, Bishan Singh Bedi, G. R. Viswanath, K. Srikkanth, Mohammed Azharuddin, Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and Karnataka’s very own Kumble and Rahul Dravid. The Indian women’s team captains — Shanta Rangaswamy and Pramila Bhat — were also honoured during the function.

Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly,Rahul Dravid, G. R. Viswanath and V. Subramanya. When Subramanya led Mysore many great cricketers played under him.-

An interesting note on leadership emanated from Srinath when he spoke about his first Ranji captain Roger Binny. “In my Ranji debut match, my first three deliveries went down the leg-side but Roger never said anything. I later made up for it with a hat-trick but the one thing I learnt from him was to stay positive. He never said anything negative.”

To skipper, with love

V. Subramanya may not ring a bell but for a clutch of great cricketers — Viswanath, Chandrasekhar, Syed Kirmani and Prasanna — he was the captain, who nurtured their talent. Subramanya, who also played briefly for India, now lives in Australia but he made it a point to be there at the function and caught up with the old boys. The skipper was in familiar terrain and there was only respect in the air.

A New Zealand legend and those Indian wickets

The Guest of Honour Richard Hadlee regales Venkatesh Prasad, Javagal Srinath and Roger Binny with tales of his days.-

Sir Richard Hadlee wears his greatness lightly. The Guest of Honour regaled the audience with his one-liners and self-depreciatory humour. “I used to choose the ball, select the end from which I bowled, knew I would bowl a few overs in my first spell, bowl a few on either side of lunch, knew that I will get to bowl at the tail and so I always had more opportunities to get wickets,” Hadlee said while underplaying his Test tally of 431 wickets.

India and Bangalore hold a special place in his heart and it was at the Chinnaswamy Stadium that he broke the then bowling record of Ian Botham (373) after scalping Arun Lal in the 1988 Test. “You should also remember that my 400th wicket came against India — Sanjay Manjrekar,” Hadlee said.

Talk vs Play

Ganguly and Dravid, who made their Test debuts together at Lord’s in 1996, are now finding their voice inside commentary boxes. Asked about what is easier, Dravid said: “Like Sourav said, talking is easier. You can sit there and say ‘he shouldn’t have chased that wide ball’ when actually six months back you did the same thing!”

Adaptability, the key

Spin wizards, E.A.S. Prasanna, B.S. Chandrasekhar and Bishan Singh Bedi, share a light moment during the function.-

Tendulkar, Dravid and Ganguly spoke about sticking to the basics while also adapting to the context of the game be it Tests or Twenty20s; Srinath dealt with mastering length as a bowler and Bedi and Kumble discussed the craft of spin and a touch of hilarity reigned when Tendulkar spoke about the arrival of the laptop in the Indian dressing room. “We were like, ‘what’s that doing here.’ Now, we get all the information within seconds from it,” Tendulkar said. Most importantly, Dravid emphasised that you should stay true to yourself. “I will never succeed if I try to play like Viru (Sehwag),” Dravid said.

Everyone matters

Cricket’s critical support-cast includes umpires, ground-staff, scorers and statisticians. The KSCA recognised this fact and felicitated its key personnel and when senior scorer M. C. Venkateshmurthy was honoured, a clutch of former Karnataka first-class cricketers led by Anand Katti broke into profuse applause. It was a warm moment for the senior citizen.