11 April, 2021

Sunny Sure Got The Rule

Asiad 1982 organiser S.A.K. Durrani saved Indian cricket the blushes as manager in ’81

The Melbourne Cricket Ground
Photograph by Getty Images
Sunny Sure Got The Rule

February, 1981; the third Test between India and Australia. Sunil Gavaskar, batting on 70 and amidst a rare bad patch, faces up to Dennis Lillee. A delivery crashes into his pad, fervent appeals ring around, umpire Rex Whitehead raises his finger. Gavaskar indicates petulantly that he had got an inside edge, then walks away. But, ove­­rcome by a towering rage, the skipper gets back and asks partner Chetan Chauhan to accompany him out. At the boundary line, Chauhan is stopped by Group Captain Shahid Ali Khan Durrani.

Though he had a distinguished career, Durrani is most famous for saving India from the huge embarrassment of forfeiting the Melbourne Test. As the team manager, he moved deftly to defuse the explosive situation, convincing Gava­skar to let the match to continue.  But he has many other feathers in his cap. He was part of the organising committee of the 1952 India-Pakistan Test in Lucknow and his role as a key official of the 1982 Delhi Asian Games won him a top government award.

Durrani, who turned 83 on September 12, now lives a...

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