Why Australian players are wearing black armbands in Eden Gardens ODI
What’s the story?
The Australian cricket team are wearing black armbands in the second ODI between India and Australia at the Eden Gardens in memory of former Australian spinner Bob Holland, who passed away recently.
In case you didn’t know…
Holland, the third-oldest Test debutant of all time, passed away aged 70 on September 17, following a prolonged battle with brain cancer.
Nicknamed “Dutchy", Holland made his Test debut aged 38 in 1984, against the touring West Indies at the Gabba. His moment of reckoning came when he won Australia a Test against the Windies at the Sydney Cricket Ground the very next year.
He played a total of 11 Tests, picking up 34 wickets at an average of 39.76.
The heart of the matter
In memory of the Australian spinner, Steve Smith (who is playing his 100th ODI) and team were seen wearing black armbands while fielding during India’s innings.
Holland was diagnosed with the disease in March, and had to undergo a surgery to remove the tumour from his brain. It was followed by sessions of chemotherapy and radiation.
Sunil Gavaskar, on-air during the first innings, said: “Condolences to the Holland family. A brilliant bowler, I remember playing against him and getting bowled around the legs.”
He was referring to the 3rd Test of India’s tour to Australia in 1986, when the Indian batsman was bowled by Holland for 172 at the SCG. Gavaskar’s wicket was the only one Holland took in the drawn game.
Parallels from history
Earlier this year, the Indian team were seen adorning black armbands as a mark of respect for the U-19 Team India trainer Rajesh Sawant, who passed away in mysterious circumstances in a hotel room in Mumbai, and for Mohammed Shami's father, Tousif Ali, who died following a heart attack.
A much-respected figure both in the Australian team and his state, New South Wales, Holland was loved by teammates and fans alike. A late bloomer, he extended his state career well into his 40s, and although he was unlucky to play only a handful of Tests for the national side, he made his mark with his famed googlies and canny leg-breaks.
The gesture from the Australian team is a heartwarming move to pay tribute to the deceased.