Fire Brand in Cricket – Srikanth

Krishnamachari-Srikkanth1In his time the Indiana Jones of Indian cricket, Srikkanth’s batting style was entertaining, innovative and explosive. Indeed, his approach came as a whiff of fresh air and, not unexpectedly, he was a great crowd puller. A swashbuckling opening batsman cast in the Mushtaq Ali mould, Srikkanth could destroy the strongest and most fearsome attacks in the world by fearless pulling, hooking and driving. But there were times when he could be dismissed by some pretty ordinary bowling. Gifted with a good eye and super-quick reflexes, Srikkanth’s buccaneering methods quickly caught the eye of the selectors and he made his international debut at 21.

Consistency however was not his watchword and he was more out of than in the Indian team. But by the mid 80s, his attacking methods had acquired some discipline and he remained the regular opening batsman till 1989. Appointed captain for the tour of Pakistan that year he achieved a major triumph when the team drew all the four Tests. But the selectors pounced on his batting failures and he only made it back after two years in the wilderness. By this time he was over 30 and he did not have the reflexes of old. And when he was not selected for the South Zone team in 1993, Srikkanth, at 33, announced his retirement. If his Test record is impressive, given his sometimes outrageous batting style, he was a natural for the limited-overs game. At the time he quit the scene, Srikkanth had scored more runs and more centuries than any other Indian cricketer and he made them in double-quick time exasperating some of the finest and fastest bowlers in the game. He was one of the heroes of the World Cup triumph in 1983 and also played in the competition in 1987 and 1992. After leaving the game, Srikkanth has worked as a cricket analyst for various Indian news channels and in February 2008, was named the ambassador for the Chennai Super Kings franchise of the Indian Premier League. Later than year, he succeeded Dilip Vengsarkar as the chairman of India’s first ever paid selection panel.

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