13 June, 2021

And It Rained Mineral Water

An eyewitness account of the night when disappointment turned to shame

And It Rained Mineral Water

If you had an Azharuddin poster at Eden Gardens on March 13 when Indian wickets were falling like ninepins, you were a marked man. Ask Mohammed Illyas, 17, who had bought onefor Rs 10. He was slapped and roughed up, and the snatched from him and burnt. Amidst comments mathata ghooriye diyechey (Bijlani has screwed his brains up)".

 Sometimes some things go wrong. For the Mohammed Azharuddin made them go wrong by field first. The decision baffled bookies, experts, and fans across India. While the odds on India opened at 75 morning, they went up to 9-10 as soon as Azhar elected to field.

 Of course, most of this was in hindsight. For those in the stadium, the match was almost won when Javagal Srinath got the two in-form Sri Lankan openers in the first over. Aravinda De Silva's stunning counter-attack in back-to-the-wall circumstances wasn't for the most part taken as a threat. Nobody wanted a no-contest.

Says Peter Roebuck, former Somerset captain and cricket writer: "Azhar's decision to field first was a very bad mistake. The wicket started...

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