ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Suresh Tendulkar on Cricket

The tributes to Suresh Tendulkar by his former colleagues and students (EPW, 6 August 2011) justly stress his scholarly rigour, his meticulous teaching methods, his personal integrity and humility, and his deep if understated patriotism. To these noble – and notable – qualities let me add two others – a sense of humour and a love of the game of cricket. Reading something I had written on Indian cricket, he sent me an email recalling some of his own childhood memories of watching and following the sport. The operative paragraph:

I heard on my neighbour’s radio that 1952 test in England when Freddie Trueman reduced India to three wickets in a single-digit score, followed by the rescue act by Hazare and Manjrekar. That famous West Indies-Australia tie of 1961 I heard in the Jubilee Hall on the radio of [the later Test player] Indrajitsinhji who happened to be my neighbour on the top floor. I want to add one anecdote for your amusement. You have described a girl kissing Abbas Ali Baig returning from a breezy knock at the end of the day’s play in a test. He was out quickly the next day. The anecdote relates to A F S Talyarkhan (AFST) who used to write a column in the Times of India with a punchline “Do you get me Steve?” and Vijay Merchant who was one of the commentators. After the girl kissed Baig, Vijay Merchant sighed aloud asking where the girls were when he scored his centuries. Quoting this remark of Merchant, AFST retorted in the punchline “Fast asleep, Vijay, tired of waiting!” [Merchant was a notoriously slowscoring batsman.] On the next day when Baig was out quickly, his punchline said “Baig was afraid what she would do if he scored a century!”

Ramachandra Guha

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