Manoj and Tumbi make history

K.RAMESH BABU

Manoj Kumar and Shaibaaz Tumbi went hammer and tongs at the Parade Grounds in Secunderabad. These two, with a triple hundred each, set a world record stand in the process. A report from V. V. Subrahmanyam.

When Mohammed Shaibaaz Tumbi walked up to his coach Harish Kumar and requested him that he would like to open the innings, little did anyone think that history would be made at the Parade Grounds, Secunderabad.

As it turned out, November 15, 2006, became a red letter day for the two openers of St. Peters High School (Old Bowenpally, Secunderabad). They created a mind-boggling world record, an unbroken partnership of 721 runs, against a hapless St. Phillips High School, in the Hyderabad Cricket Association's Inter-schools (under-13) cricket tournament.

Boddepalli Manoj Kumar (320 not out, 127 balls, 46 x 4) and Shaibaaz Tumbi (324 not out, 116 balls, 57 x 4) rattled up 721 runs in only 40 overs and in reply St. Phillips was bundled out for 21 in seven overs. It was a resounding 700-run victory. Significantly, not a single six was hit.

"We both played most of the strokes in the `V,' said the world record setters. These two scripted a golden chapter in the annals of cricketing history. This record eclipsed the previous best stand of 664 for any wicket between Sachin Tendulkar and Vinod Kambli in the 1987-88 season for Shardashram School in Bombay.

On the eventful day, everything seemed to fall in place for St. Peter's School. Captain Mohd. Akram won the toss and opted to bat against a team, which was playing its first-ever inter-schools match.

The news of a double century by another schoolboy G. H. Vihari on the previous day, in the same tournament, in fact was the inspiration for these two.

"Sir, why should we also not try to score double centuries? I will open the innings," was the plea from Shaibaaz, who normally bats at No. 4.

Spurred by a warning that failure would see him out of the team for the next match, this gifted youngster in the company of Manoj Kumar started attacking from the word go.

But some felt something was amiss somewhere along the line.

But the two umpires, Venugopal and M. Kumar, scotched such ideas. They said it was an amazing batting display. "There was only one sight to be seen — the ball repeatedly racing to the boundary," they recall.

The dispirited fielding side even pleaded to the batsmen to stop the assault. But, Shaibaaz and Manoj were in no mood to relent. Interestingly, they were aware only of their individual milestones but not the impending world record while at the wicket.

"During our partnership, there was a war of words, with Shaibaaz complaining that I was getting the maximum strike. So we decided to face three balls each in each over," recalls Manoj. The fact that the umpires called a halt to the innings 10 overs before the scheduled 50 overs was completed, was a reflection of the awesome dominance of these two eighth standard students.

Were there any chances during that mammoth stand? "Yes, I was dropped on 285. But don't we deserve that slice of luck sir?" asks Shaibaaz in all innocence.

ShaibaAz adores Yuvraj Singh while Manoj admires Sachin Tendulkar. The other sidelight of this amazing piece of history was the attitude of the other cricketers, including captain Mohd. Akram. What were his thoughts before the match? "Well, there was only one target — that of scoring a double century. The rest just happened," is his reply.

"Personally, I was aiming at a 10-wicket haul to emulate Anil Kumble's feat for myself," says Akram with a smile. And he came pretty close to that with a spell of 4-1-11-7 with his off-spin bowling. The other slow bowler Hussain (3-0-10-2) shared the spoils and one batsman was run-out. A team-mate and medium-pacer Rishank said that they were stunned to see what was happening. "Obviously, we enjoyed every bit of it," he says with a big smile. The performance triggered nation-wide acclaim and the school management led by principal Saroja and correspondent T. V. Reddy, organised a rousing felicitation function the next day. In their moment of glory, these young kids were grateful to their coaches — Oscar Vinod Kumar (ex-Andhra Ranji player), Harish Kumar and Tyagesh — for their contribution.

So stunned were a couple of spectators, including Shaibaaz's father Imtiaz Abdullah Tumbi (himself a former national table tennis player), that they just kept watching without remembering even to take a few photographs. The media came to know of the record only when the routine fax from the Hyderabad Cricket Association reached their offices late in the evening. A spectacular piece of history indeed!

RICH TRIBUTE

The new world record by B. Manoj Kumar and Mohammed Shaibaaz Tumbi evoked all-round acclaim. Here are some of the reactions:

Vinod Kambli, who along with Sachin Tendulkar held the earlier record of 664 for Shradashram School in the 1987-88 season in Bombay, was pleasantly surprised, but at the same time was delighted that the record was broken by another Indian pair. "That is more important for me. Obviously, the two schoolboys must have shown admirable temperament and courage during their long partnership," was Kambli's reaction to Sportstar.

V. V. S. Laxman: It was a great effort. Apparently they displayed great temperament in not losing their wickets. Definitely these boys of tender age should have a bright future. But I also feel that every effort should be made to see that they are not put under pressure by expectations of a repeat performance. I wish them a great future. My only advice to them is to just put this feat behind and focus on the next games.

N. Shivlal Yadav, secretary of HCA: Congratulations to both for a great achievement. I am eager to see their exploits from now on. They should be potential stars of Indian cricket. Hope they continue to perform exceptionally in future.

S. L. Venkatapathi Raju (national selector): I felt great when I came to know about this world record. It gave me greater joy that they are from Hyderabad. I wish them great success.

B. Simhachalam (Manoj's father and advocate): I was in the court on that eventful day. And when I came to know in the afternoon about it, I could not believe it. Honestly, one never expects such a dramatic performance.

Imtiaz Abdulllah Tumbi (Shaibaaz's father): I was there watching the match. Definitely I never ever felt that such a world record was round the corner. I am now worried and wish that these adulations and felicitations will not hamper them from playing their natural game. Of course, the ultimate dream is to see them don India colours.