Interview of Cricket Fans – 102 – Javagal Srinath
Jay – Thank you for your participation in this interview, tell us your early memories of this game.
Ravi – Thank you for being kind and putting this across, Jay. The late 80s and early 90s Indian tours of West Indies and Australia are the ones which left a long impression about the game in my mind and how a certain generation became emotionally attached to the sport. Watching my father and uncle glued to the old school Black & White TVs set whole nights and early in the mornings, attracted me towards falling in love with the game.
Jay – And now tell us your early memories of watching Javagal Srinath play.
Ravi – I recollect those days like they happened last week. To be precise, the 91 tour of Australia, where he removed Geoff Marsh. He ran fast, bowled consistently and demolished the visitors. Also, those were the days where we used to watch Ranji matches in stadiums. I still remember, one day, my father and uncle took me and few cousins to the stadium for a Ranji Trophy match between Orissa and Assam. It was my primary schooling days. At noon, when the players were making their way back for a quick lunch, I heard a few talking about a hat-trick in another match between Karnataka and Hyderabad at the then Bangalore. Of a lanky, tall young man who approached the crease with a good speed. However, I got to know his name later on. It created a few ripples somewhere deep in the corners of my mind.
Jay – Describe Javagal Srinath’s run-up and the way he bowls.
Ravi – An enticing orchestra. A cheetah that never tires. A bull that never stops fighting. A monk who chose to remain humble.
Jay – What drew you into becoming a fan of him?
Ravi – Srinath was not someone who looked like a Marshall, but he did run at a decent speed. Those movements to the crease involved an unwavering grace. Those menacing deliveries landing from a trajectory that not only made the batsman check his stance, but also put their skills to a stoic test. Srinath harnessed his craft involving both fitness and bowling at such a level that he would be consistent at any time, even the most challenging climatic conditions.
Jay – Was Srinath the best fast bowler India produced then?
Ravi – Undoubtedly.
Jay: What was it about him that used to trouble the batsmen?
Ravi – A few aspects that we look at in any speedster are speed, consistency of balls landing in the “corridor of uncertainty” and those toe-crushing Yorkers. Think of calculating Srinath’s speed and who better than the then touring Proteas side in 1991 can tell you better?
Jay – What were the highs and lows of Srinath’s career?
Ravi – To me, the low is not winning a world cup and not being a part of the No. 1 test team. The highs? Srinath’s character, humility, dignity and grace.
Jay – Just like how the captaincy legacy began from Sourav Ganguly, then it was continued by M.S.Dhoni, and now Virat Kohli, similarly can Srinath be one of the reasons for India’s rise as a bowling unit?
Ravi – Yes!!! No one deserves better recognition than Anil Kumble and Javagal Srinath. In fact, on one occasion, he said: “Knowing your body is important. Outsiders can’t read your body at all; you are the best doctor and physiotherapist. When you can’t read your body, you look out for help”.
Jay – Does Srinath make it into your all-time XI?
Ravi – Yes. My all-time India XI looks like this.
V V S Laxman,
Farooq Engineer (WK),
E A S Prasanna (B Chandrasekhar & B Bedi makes a strong case),
Kapil Dev (C),