Cricket

When fielding reached dizzying heights

WHAT AN EFFORT: Inzamam-ul-Haq being run out by South Africa's Jhonty Rhodes in the 1992 World Cup. Photo: V.V. Krishnan

WHAT AN EFFORT: Inzamam-ul-Haq being run out by South Africa's Jhonty Rhodes in the 1992 World Cup. Photo: V.V. Krishnan   | Photo Credit: V_V_Krishnan

Looking back, I was very young then and the aura of World Cup took me by surprise. It was a long tour of Australia and we were there for five months and played five Tests, a Tri-series and then the World Cup.

As a youngster you want to do everything in one delivery — bowl a yorker, a bouncer and an out-swinger so that you get a wicket. That was my first World Cup, and by the time I played my last World Cup at South Africa in 2003, there was a vast change. I was analytical in the manner I got my wickets, was able to guide the bowlers but way back in 1992 I was too raw.

But there are some memories. Even now when I go to Brisbane — I was there recently as the ICC match referee — people remind me about how Venkatapathy Raju hung on to me. Raju had thought we had won that match against Australia while all we had to do was complete the run. He hung on to me, got run-out and we lost the match by one run!

Another memory is the episode involving Javed Miandad and Kiran More at Sydney. Miandad started jumping up and down in an exaggerated bid to mimic More's appealing style and it is another incident that many remember from that World Cup.

Miandad's wicket

I remember getting Miandad out clean bowled and I think at that moment I was someone else. I understood then what a match between the two arch-rivals means. We won that match and it felt good and it bred some positivity within the team.

I remember Sachin Tendulkar's batting style and even though he was very young he never felt the pressure. He was always a genius. In the match against England, there was this mini-duel between Sachin and an ageing Ian Botham, who was bowling from a few strides. It was exciting to watch and finally Botham got Sachin.

It was also the World Cup which laid the basis for many creative strategies in limited overs cricket. New Zealand's captain Martin Crowe used a powerful hitter like Mark Greatbatch as an opener and he also opened his bowling through off-spinner Dipak Patel.

Fielding also reached dizzy heights through that spectacular diving run-out that Jonty Rhodes effected against Inzamam-ul-Haq. It was also a tournament that gained a lot with extensive television coverage.

Champions Pakistan started slowly and their progress all the way to the top was a big surprise. The manner in which a young Inzamam-ul-Haq played against New Zealand in the semifinal, changed their fortunes. For me personally, a special moment was the way I was received at the Bangalore airport when I got back as fans reminded me of the Miandad dismissal.

In retrospect there are 101 things we can now say about how we could have done better as a team. Maybe, we could have come back home for a few days after the Test series, taken a break and then gone back to Australia for the World Cup. But that is all wisdom in hindsight.

(K.C. Vijaya Kumar in conversation with Javagal Srinath)

Tomorrow: Anil Kumble on 1996.

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Printable version | Jun 30, 2020 12:09:16 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/cricket/When-fielding-reached-dizzying-heights/article15444122.ece

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