Can any of you guess who the fastest Indian batsmen is to reach 1000 test runs?
I’ll give you a clue, he was a southpaw who shared a record with Sir Donald Bradman and Wally Hammond; the first Indian batsman to score consecutive double centuries in test match cricket.
Another hint – in his debut Test series against England (1993) — he finished as the highest run-getter, ahead of the likes of Graeme Hick, Sachin Tendulkar, Mike Gatting and Mohammad Azharuddin, all proven performers in the sport by then.
Still thinking – well…He is none other than one of my favourite Indian batsmen, the cheerful, bubbly and a bit supercilious, Vinod Ganpat Kambli. This man was the cynosure of all eyes, when he made his test debut in the nineties.
The great Sunil M Gavaskar said this about him when a journalist asked him as to who was the best young batsman of this era “Lara” or “Sachin”: “Wait until you see this young lefthander who is more talented than both Lara and Sachin…”
If not for his controversial life, fit enough to be an Award winning original story, the achievements this man could have accomplished on the pitch is beyond anyone’s imagination. His average when he retired was above fifty.
Vinod Kambli was a special talent and I am sure all of us would agree when I say that he alone cannot be held responsible for not being able to convert that talent into consistent performances for India. We will for sure discuss at length about this at a later date, but for now it is important to note that this man now lies in one of the hospitals in Mumbai India being treated after suffering a heart attack at the young age of 41.
Sportz Cosmos wishes Vinod Kambli a speedy recovery and hopes to see him in action soon, if not as a player – as a batting coach in his academy in Mumbai.
-Ddharaniikota SSuyodhan [DS is the vice-captain of the team that leads the Football Galaxy at Sportz Cosmos]