VINTAGE ANECDOTES Part I: GREAT CRICKET STORY-TELLING


GAVASKAR….START FROM SCRATCH….ALWAYS

To ease the pressure on himself, Sunil Gavaskar had decided to come lower down the order and bat at No 4 for that particular match. But, Malcolm Marshall fired out Anshuman Gaekwad and Dilip Vengsarkar for ducks, setting the stage for Gavaskar to walk in at 0/2. Viv Richards said “Man, it don’t matter where you come in to bat, the score is still zero.”

FOURDUMB

Viv Richards hit Merv Hughes for four consecutive boundaries in one over. Merv stops halfway down the pitch, farted loudly, and said to Viv: “let’s see you hit that to the boundary!” Viv was dumb-founded.

TICKET PLEASE

Javed Miandad called Hughes a fat bus conductor during a match. A few balls later, Hughes dismissed Miandad. “Tickets please,” said Huges, as he ran past the departing batsman.

LEN HUTTON AND SATISFACTION

Len Hutton scored 364 and Engalnd won the oval test against Australia 1938. As Hutton and Leyland were waiting at a red light, a lady stepped up and congratulated him. She said ” Well done Len, but couldn’t you have scored 1 more for all days in a year”. After she left, Hutton remarked ” Maurice, Can you ever satisfy a woman, whatever you do ?”.

LIKE FATHER LIKE SON

EH Hendren went on several ashes tours especially 1911-12 and 1926. An Aussie gentleman met him in 1911 and took his autograph. in 1926, the self-same gentleman came upto him and said “I had the honor of meeting your father in 1911 and can you please sign next to your dad’s”!.

BEDSAR: A SHORT STORY

One upon a time, there were two brothers. Both of them were very good pace bowlers in their youth. So they decided to apply for Surrey groundstaffer’s post. They were told that there were openings for one pacer and one spinner. The brothers went to a corner, tossed a coin. The chap who won the toss went on to take 11 test wickets in his first 2 tests and 200 plus overall, Mr. Alec Bedser.

TOO CLOSE FOR BRIAN CLOSE

Close famous for his obstinate batting and courageous fielding, was fielding in a county match, towards the fag end of his career, a full blooded shot hit him on the forehead to be reflected and caught by the slip fielder. A young ‘un asked “Captain, what would have happened if it had hit you in the middle of eyes”. Pat came the reply “It would have been caught at the cover.”.

THREE DUCK IN A DISH

Scene: Pakistan vs England 1982, Lord’s test. Pakistan 428- all out, England 227/9. 3rd day ended. In the evening, Lamb, Gower and Robin Jackman (the not out bat) went to dinner and ordered duck. Next day, all three matched that “DUCK”. Destroyer in chief being one Mudassar nazar.

RUNNING FOR A CAUSE

Bomber Wells, a spin bowler and great character, played for Glocuestershire and Nottinghamshire. He used to bat at No.11 since one couldn’t bat any lower. Of him, they used to paraphrase Compton’s famous words describing an equally inept runner; “When he shouts ‘YES for a run, it is merely the basis for further negotiations!

Incidentally, Compton was no better. John Warr said, of Compton “ He was the only person who would call you for a run and wish you luck at the same time.

Anyway, when Wells played for Gloucs, he had an equally horrendous runner as the No.10. During a county match, horror of horrors..both got injured.

Both opted for runners when it was their turn to bat. Bomber played a ball on the off, called for a run, forgot he had a runner and ran himself. Ditto at the other end. In the melee, someone decided that a second run was on. Now we had all four running. Due to the confusion and constant shouts of “YES” “NO”, eventually, all of them ran to the same end.

Note – at this point in time, the entire ground is rolling on the floor laughing their behinds out. One of the fielders – brave lad – stops laughing for a minute, picks the ball and throws down the wicket at the other end. Umpire Alec Skelding looks very seriously at the four and calmly informs them “One of you buggers is out. I don’t know which. You decide and inform the bloody scorers!” (This incident was described in “From the Pavilion End” – an autobiography by Harold “Dickie” Bird)

THE REVENGE THAT NEVER WAS: FEATURING HAROLD LARWOOD

Harold Larwood was batting in a county match, and was being peppered with the short-pitched stuff. The bowler (whose name I can’t remember) obviously fancied himself as a tailender’s nightmare…Anyway, Larwood, after receiving one too many perfume balls, glared down the pitch and said dangerously, “It’ll be my turn soon.”

“Don’t worry”, came the reply,”if you pitch it in my half, I’ll hit you out of the ground, and if you pitch it in your half, I’ll hit you out of the county.”

Soon enough, it was Larwood’s turn to take the field, and he ran through the top order, obviously quite eager to settle scores with the upstart. He reminded him of that, as he took guard. Once again, the batsman reminded him how far it was to the next county.

“We’ll see”, said Larwood, went back to his mark, and exploded into his runup…. The upstart never saw the ball. It reared up wickedly towards his face and after barely fending it off, he caught a glimpse of it falling well short of first slip. He tucked his bat under his arm and started walking.

“Come back and fight,” called Larwood.. Well bowled, Lol, well bowled!” came the reply. “You weren’t out,” said the umpire. “In my opinion, gentlemen,” replied the upstart, “that was the fairest catch I’ve ever seen!”

12 MEN FIELDING

It was 1990, Kapil smashed 4 sixes in an over to avoid the follow -On ) Raman Lamba (as a 12th man) was substituting K. Srikanth. He forgot to go back to pavilion even after Srikanth was back on to the field. Meanwhile India was having 12 fielders on the field for complete one over.

VIV RICHARDS FIRST SIGNS OF SWAGGER

 It was a county match between Somerset and Glamorgan. A little, unknown batsman with no talent, named Vivian Richards was at the crease. Greg Thomas, a Glamorgan fast bowler thundered in and beat the great man’s bat.

“It’s red and it’s round. Can’t you see it?”, the bowler taunted Richards.

The next ball was an action replay. The ball pitched three quarters of length on middle and off, seamed away, and once again Richards was all at sea and comprehensively beaten.

“It’s red and it’s round and it weighs four-and-a-half ounces. Can’t you see it?”, Greg Thomas quipped.

Richards took a stroll, summoned his powers of concentration, swung his arms around, took a fresh guard and got ready for the next ball. Greg Thomas came running in. The delivery was right in the slot, and Viv launched into one of his trademark shots and smashed the ball out of the ground and straight into the river that flowed around it. The master blaster told the hapless bowler who almost died watching the ball go. “You know what it looks like… go get it!”

B CHANDRASHEKHAR: QUESTIONING THE ‘RIGHT’

B. Chandrashekar, once in England, getting a batsman plumb in front twice. Both times, he was turned down. A ball later, he sent one through and bowled the batsman. Chandra goes, Howzaaat? The umpire looks puzled and says, he’s bowled. Chandra’s reply was a classic: “I know he is bowled, but is he out?”

GOOD CROW…BAD CROWE

Trevor Bailey welcoming listeners in New Zealand with “bad news for papa crow(e) and mama crow(e) – the two crowes have had a duck!”

SALT SATYAGRAHA IN LEEDS

One of the sons of Mahatma- Devdas, who was reporter was in England in 1948 and wanted to watch Don Bradman play. He got tickets to Headingly test but on arriving there was unable to find accommodation. He tried all inns, all fully booked. So finally, in desperation, he used his political connections and spent the night at the Jail, the warden being an old friend who had similarly entertained him and several of his friends after a party, we have come to know as “Salt Satyagraha”

HAZARE THE AUTOGRAPH COLLECTOR

Vijay Hazare was avid autograph collector and managed to collect autographs of all visiting sides he played versus. In 1934, after managing to collect the autographs of 15 MCC team members properly ordered with numerals 1 to 15, all on same page, he also happened to meet Mahatma for the first time. He asked for Bapu’s autograph, who looked at his diary, impressed by people in there, signed and returned. Vijay could not locate Mahatama’s autograph easily. He finally found it on page of MCC team members where #16 was one Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi.

HOLY COW? BLOODY HOW!

S. Bannerjee who went on 1936 English tour without playing a test, considered a good bowler after Nissar and Amar Singh only in his time, He was denied India honor time and again till 1946, semi-retired and leading Bihar, the match was against strong Holkar contingent. Indian side to 1946 was not selected yet and air was heavy with expectation. After the match, someone brought a holy cow to ask a question. The question was who is going to England from both teams. The cow picked CS Nayudu, Mushtaq Ali, C Sarwate and rambled onto Bihar ranks and also nudged the embarrased Bannerjee. Believe it or not, 2 weeks later, all 4 players were selected for England 1946 tour.

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