Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Champion of Champions

Ravishankar Jayadratha Shastri was born on 27th May 1962 at Bombay. His father, Jayadratha Shastri, is a renowned doctor. He studied in Don Bosco School at Matunga. He graduated from R.A. Podar College at Mumbai. Early in his career, Ravi Shastri was mainly a slow left arm orthodox leg break bowler. After Sachin Tendulkar, he was the youngest player to have been selected for Mumbai at 17 years and 292 days. He started playing domestic first class cricket in 1980. He played for Mumbai in the Ranji Trophy and even led them to the championship. He has also played for Glamorgan County. Ravi Shastri made his test debut on 21st February 1981 against New Zealand in the first test at Basin Reserve, Wellington. He played his last test against South Africa on 26th December 1992. He played in 80 tests, scoring 3,830 runs with a highest score of 206 and taking 151 wickets and 36 catches with 11 centuries and 12 fifties. He has played 150 one day matches, scoring 3,108 runs and taking 129 wickets and 40 catches with 4 centuries and 18 fifties. He has played 523 first class matches, scoring 19,585 runs with 40 centuries and 104 fifties. He has picked up 763 wickets and has taken 235 catches. He made his one day debut against England at Ahmedabad on 25th November 1981. He played his last one day match against South Africa on 17th December 1992. His statistics prove that he was one of the greatest Indian all rounders. He was a right hand bat and a left arm bowler. His all round cricket abilities with the bat and the ball made him a constant in the Indian cricket team in the nineteen eighties. He started as a bowler and used to bat around the tenth spot. Within a short span of time, he grew in his batting stature so much that he was opening the innings for India. Ravi Shastri was a member of the 1983 winning squad at the World Cup in England but he was not playing in all the matches. He made his mark in the 1985 Benson and Hedges Championship of Cricket in Australia where he picked up the Man of the Series Award for his 182 runs and 8 wickets. He was declared as the `Champion of Champions’ for his consistent performance. Ravi Shastri is also famous after Sir Garfield Sobers for hitting six sixes in an over but in a domestic match while Sobers had done that in a test match. Later, Herschelle Gibbs of South Africa and Yuvraj Singh of India have repeated this feat. Ravi Shastri captained India in one test match which India won, giving him a 100% captaincy record. However, the best captains for India have been Ajit Wadekar, Kapil Dev Nikhanj and Mahendra Singh Dhoni. In his debut test series in New Zealand, Ravi Shastri took three wickets in four balls in his first test in the second innings. He also took seven wickets in the third test to be awarded the man of the match. He took fifteen wickets in his first series which was the highest for both the sides. Ravi Shastri has a record partnership of 235 runs with Syed Kirmani for the seventh wicket against England. His best innings was 107 not out played overseas at West Indies against an attack that included Courtney Walsh, Malcolm Marshall, Curtly Ambrose and Ian Bishop. He also has a double hundred to his account, 206 made against Australia in Australia. Ravi Shastri was essentially a defensive batsman with a trademark `chapati’ shot. It was a flick off the pads. He could be aggressive when required. His height of 6’3” gave him a good reach and an upright stance. He retired from first class cricket in September 1994. Since then, he has been a leading commentator for many sports broadcasting television channels. In 2007, he was made the Manager of the Indian side that toured Bangla Desh. He was given the Arjuna Award in 1984.

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