24 October, 2020

The Fast And Furious

With a surfeit of pacers blossoming, Gujarat resurrects a long-gone tradition

Pradeep Mandhani
The Fast And Furious
Mahatma Gandhi may have been the apostle of non-violence, but even as he was struggling for India's independence, a man from his own region, Amar Singh, was terrorising English batsmen with his pace. Amar Singh wasn't just a lethal speedster, pairing up with the deadly Mohammed Nissar when India became a Test nation in 1932, but also a hard-hitting batsman. Tragically, he died aged 30. His brother, L. Ramji, a big man with typical fast bowler's aggression, was also a formidable speedster, known to generate lightning speed on the slowest of pitches. Sledging wasn't unusual for him too, and he had no qualms about packing his overs with bouncers and beamers wreaking mayhem. He even had the gall to fell the Maharaja of Patiala—who called the shots in Indian cricket then—in his own backyard. No wonder then that Ramji played only one Test.

But since Amar Singh played his last Test, no fast bowler from Gujarat, the only state that fields three teams—Baroda, Saurashtra and, of course, Gujarat—in the Ranji Trophy, has been an India regular, except for Karsan Ghavri. Other...


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