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FLASHBACK 1: This month, those days…

by Bored Member

By Raja Baradwaj

Rewinding back to 1995, October 25, 26, 27, 28, 29

The place was still Madras. A fantastic & historic ground, close to the Marina Beaches

M A Chidambaram stadium, that was were the pitch was laid out. The Lords of cricket in India were too ignorant of the seasons in India those days, not that they have improved any degree these days while scheduling. I S Bindra and his crack team decided to defy Varuna, the rain god who normally is a frequent flier along the Madras skies during that season.

Even before the cricketers could set foot on the MCC club grass, the MET office and Doordarshan, Madras had declared the match a draw, rather abandoned due to incessant rains. The lucky Md. Azharuddin was, he went out for the toss with the newest captain of New Zealand cricket Lee Germon. It was another fact that Mr Germon was new to test cricket itself.

The toss master he was, Azza won and the Indians were batting under overcast conditions. In charge of handing the man who was purportedly the reverse swing expert of NZ cricket, Danny Morrison and another second generation maverick Cairns, in Chris were Manoj Prabhakar and Ajay Jadeja for India.

Jadeja played 41 balls before he finally got out bowled to Dion Nash for 3. Prabhakar was then joined by Sidhu who by then was fondly called “Sixer” Sidhu by his fans in Madras, the place were his crickteting career blossomed to maturity. When rain gods intervened and had the players scurrying to the pavilion, Prabhakar was on 19 and Sidhu was on 18. The play could never resume before it was the fourth day of the match. Sidhu eventually went for 33 caught by Twose off the bowling of Cairns and India were 73 for 2.

By the time the match had reached its 72nd over on the fourth day, Manoj Prabhakar the opener had briskly & very attackingly reached his 41st of runs (in 220 balls), he had with him a certain young man who already had made his mark in the cricket annals as a budding superstar. Prabhakar must definitely have seen him as a very rash youngster that day, someone who didn’t take his test cricket seriously. The man was a one certain Sachin Tendulkar who was, at that time on 52 and this was just after the 88th ball he had faced.

By which time it was rain again and it seemed Madras would never get to normalcy in the next 72 hours. It was a Poonai – Naai Maazhai (Tamil – English: pouring cats and dogs). So the match was called off and a presentation ceremony was called for, with that one old MCC member overlooking the Silver Duck sipping his RC Whisky reading The Hindu. Sachin Tendulkar was declared the man of the match for his 52 No.

And India were sitting pretty at, 1 – 0 in the 3 test series.

Another interesting fact in the series was that one Mr Roger Twose, who made his debut in the Madras Test built a reputation for himself. He went on to call Sanjay Manjrekar, one of the most dignified of cricketers, names. This happened in an ODI in the Vidharbha Cricket Grounds at Nagpur. This was post an athletic effort from Manjrekar to get Mr Twose runout for 9 runs, as NZ were setting a target up. NZ eventually went on to win the match by 99 runs, while India won the next match in Bombay to take the series 3 – 2.


Anonymous said...

What is Azharuddin doing these days?

RajaB said...

He runs a successful upmarket fitness club in the Banjara Hills area of Hyderabad.

He also plays in the senior circuit once a while and also makes some public appearances here and there.

He is as fit as he was when he left the game (rather, when he was forced to leave the game !!)