is coming out with a series about the all-time Top 20 All-rounders in the game of Cricket. And there are 2 Indians in that list – Kapil Dev (of course, everyone expects him to be in that list) & Ravi Shastri !

Initially, it did come as a surprise – Ravi Shastri, among the all time 20 all-rounders (???)
After all, at one time, Ravi Shastri was ‘booed’ by the crowd so much for his slow batting. In fact I think once he was booed at the stadium, after he had already retired from the game and was only present in his role of a commentator !

But then, one has to agree, he has given a lot to Indian cricket, as a player – as an all-rounder.  He is at the centre of one of my earliest memories of a grand victory for the Indian cricket team, from my school days —

That day, long long ago, everyone of us at home had woken up at an unearthly hour to watch the live telecast of “World Championship” final, from the grand MCG, in Australia. And even today, I feel that nobody covers a cricket match as good as the “Channel 9” guys from Down Under – on many ocassions, they have made me sit & watch even when India was not playing !

I remember how, after India won the final, Ravi Shastri was awarded the “Champion of Champions” and an AUDI car. Thanks to my poor knowledge of cars and car-manufacturers then, that was the first time I had even heard of a car called “Audi”.
I vividly recall all the Indian players bundling into the shiny new car, and some players even climbing on the outside –  for a victory lap of the stadium.

In those days, unlike now, it was not very common for the Man-of-the-Match or a Player-of-the-Series to get a Car or a Bike as a prize. It was all the more exciting to watch an Indian get an AUDI — at a time when the only cars you saw on Indian roads were Premier-Padminis & a few Ambassadors.

I recollect vaguely that Sadanand Vishwanath was the Indian wicket-keeper on that tour, and that the present day commentator Laxman Sivaramakrishnan was a permanent member of the Indian team then. 

Wow, those wonderful memories ! I need to call & ask for a sports channel, one which will telecast live cricket matches — the World Cup is just round the corner.

P.S : Need I add here that Ravi Shastri was another great Mumbai-kar !! 🙂