Cricket is a funny game and R. Ashwin learnt the art of off spin bowling to perfection and achieved success when he struggled to take wickets on perfect tracks. In Pune and in the first innings at Bangalore he could not get in the act of sharing the bulk of wickets but in the second innings when a win mattered he made a match of it and the six wicket haul gave him the edge. Now he regains the number one spot in bowling as well as top all-rounder spot in his own typical way. He dethroned Bangladesh’s Shakib Al Hasan from top spot for all-rounders and has now 434 points and ahead by 31 points to Hasan. He came back as the number one test bowler after sharing the spot with Ravindra Jadeja for some time during the series against Australians. Ashwin is aiming high and will be a top contender for the number one spot as he is destined to play a key role in the remaining two test matches.
Spinners mature with age and the Tamil Nadu spinners even though underestimated came out with flying colours at the top in International cricket. Srinivas Venkataraghavan was a great cricketer and he was the victim of great injustice. He was not given his due as a player. He was one of the greatest umpires. A perfect gentleman. My mind goes back to the catch he took at gully in his first test. Both E.A.S. Prasanna and Chandrasekhar got the services of Venkat as a fielder when they were bowling but Venkat suffered because of slipshod fielding. He really enjoyed the game in all respects competed with the famous trio who were his team mates and contemporaries for two decades and contributed a lot to the game as an umpire too.
Rahul Dravid was the nearest to him in such stature. These contributions look more legendary in these IPL money spinning days. Venkataraghavan took 156 wickets in 57 matches before calling it a day. Venkatraman Subramanya played for brief career after the retirement of Srinivas Venkataraghavan but failed to retain his place for that length of time. It was Vaman Kumar, who mesmerised the world’s best batsmen with his leg spin and googly and did capture a test wicket in his first over but could not match with Chandrasekhar, E.A.S Prasanna, Bishen Singh Bedi and Venkataraghavan. Kumar was honoured with a Special Award along with Late Ramakant Desai. As an upcoming cricketer, I had the opportunity of facing Kumar in the nets at Chepauk and he hate batsmen, who hit him from the word go and fail to give him the utmost respect as a leggy. In all Tamil Nadu is proud to have such stalwarts holding spin department and made the batsmen dance to their tunes.
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)