V is for Srinivasaraghavan (V)enkatraghavan the off-spinner from the famed spin-quartet of India – #BlogchatterAtoZ #AtoZChallenge 2019
Cricket is a game that almost holds a status akin to religion in India. And India is a country that has not been known for producing world-class fast bowlers. A question that is raised very often is how come a country as populous as ours is unable to produce a genuine quickie, whereas a country like Pakistan which is much smaller in size and population keeps producing world-class fast bowlers.
But the one department of bowling in which we have been producing great bowlers consistently is spin. In the sixties and seventies, Indian bowling was dominated by the spin quartet of Bedi, Prasanna, Chandrasekhar and Venkatraghavan. Later we produced some great spinners like Harbhajan Singh and now we have Ravichandran Ashwin who is a brilliant spinner.
In today’s post, I will be presenting you the story of Srinivasaraghavan Venkatraghavan who was a renowned off-spin bowler of the sixties and seventies. Later he also captained the Indian side. Venkatraghavan or Venkat as he was better known, was born on 21, April 1945. He belongs to the state of Tamil Nadu. He came into the test scene at the age of 20 when he was selected to play against New Zealand.
He took 12 wickets in the test played at Delhi in that series and made a name for himself as a world-class off-spinner. In the 1970-71 series when India toured West Indies, he was appointed vice-captain. The series was won by India and that ‘India Rubber Year’ remained the year of Venkat’s greatest achievements. In that year alone he took 35 wickets in eight Tests, besides being the vice-captain of the victorious Indian side.
This was followed by 13 wickets in the three tests against England. He had to constantly compete with EAS Prasanna for the off spinner’s slot in the Indian team which meant he was frequently in and out of the side. But despite this, he kept improving as a bowler all through his career. As the years went by he became a very accurate and penetrative bowler.
He was the captain of the Indian team in the world cup competitions of 1975 and 1979. Unfortunately, in both the tournaments India performed pretty dismally. He was also the captain of the Indian team for the 1979 tour of England. He then lost his place in the team but made a come-back in 1983 when he was picked for the tour of West Indies. Finally, in 1985 he retired from first-class cricket after becoming the second highest wicket-taker in the Ranji Trophy with 530 wickets.
After retirement, he contributed to the game as an administrator and a manager of the Indian side. Later he turned successfully to umpiring and went on the become one of the most respected umpires of the game. He officiated as an umpire in 73 tests and 52 One Day Internationals and retired in March 2004.
Many people might be surprised by my inclusion of Venkat in this series but I really felt that I ought to include at least one bowler from the glorious spin quartet of the sixties and seventies who were the mainstay of Indian bowling once upon a time.
Tags – #BlogchatterAtoZ 2019 #AtoZChallenge 2019