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"Gavaskar told me not to bowl my variations in the nets" - Laxman Sivaramakrishnan

Laxman Sivaramakrishnan bamboozled the opposition batsmen with his variations
Laxman Sivaramakrishnan bamboozled the opposition batsmen with his variations
Kartik Iyer
Modified 06 Jan 2021, 12:41 IST

Former Indian leg-spinner Laxman Sivaramakrishnan has revealed Sunil Gavaskar had asked him not to bowl his variations at the nets before the 1985 World Championship of Cricket to keep them away from prying cameras.

The wily leg-spinner was India's star performer with the ball in the tournament. His ten wickets were one of the principal contributors in India winning the prestigious title.

During a discussion on Sports Today, Laxman Sivaramakrishnan was asked to share some interesting anecdotes about the 1985 World Championship of Cricket.

Siva, as he is fondly called, revealed he was not even given a chance to bowl in a limited-over club game the day the Indian team was selected.

"I will give the build-up to it. I was playing a 50-over club game on the day the selection took place and my captain did not even give me the ball. I was the Man of the Series in the Test series and in the 50-over club game I did not get to bowl a single over. I played as a batsman and as a fielder," said Sivaramakrishnan

Laxman Sivaramakrishnan disclosed he was pleasantly surprised when told about his selection in the Indian team for the tournament.

"A press reporter came at the end of the game and told me that I have been selected for the Indian team to go to the World Championship of Cricket. And it is a 50-over game, remember I didn't even get a bowl in a 50-over game for a club side and I was happily surprised that I was picked for the tour of Australia," added Sivaramakrishnan

He even recalled Ravi Shastri telling him on the flight to Australia that it was probably an acclimatization tour for him before the Test series there later that year.

"On the flight to Australia from Mumbai, Ravi Shastri, me and Roger Binny were sitting next to each other. I asked Ravi why I was on the tour as I had never played an ODI. Ravi said to me that maybe we are coming back for a Test series next summer, so they want me to have a feel of the conditions and that's why probably I was on the flight," stated Laxman Sivaramakrishnan

"Sunil Gavaskar asked me what field I wanted to bowl with" - Laxman Sivaramakrishnan

Laxman Sivaramakrishnan called Sunil Gavaskar a bowler
Laxman Sivaramakrishnan called Sunil Gavaskar a bowler's captain

Laxman Sivaramakrishnan recollected then-Indian captain Sunil Gavaskar telling him not to practice his variations at the nets with prying cameras on the lookout for them.

"But once we landed in Australia, the Tests were going on, and Sunil Gavaskar the captain came and told me not to bowl my variations in the nets. There will be cameras spying on me from somewhere and they will look to work out my variations. He asked me to just bowl my leg-breaks for half an hour and then do my fielding practice," said Sivaramakrishnan

The leg-spinner added that he was taken by surprise when Gavaskar asked him to tell his preferred field settings while having lunch on the day before the first encounter.

"The day before the first game against Pakistan, Sunny bhai took me and Ravi out for lunch. Sunny bhai asked me what field I wanted to bowl with. So I realised I was going to play the next day. I just asked Sunny bhai to give me 5 mins and let me think what I need to do because I didn't want to do anything hasty. So, we sorted out a plan," stated Laxman Sivaramakrishnan

Laxman Sivaramakrishnan highlighted Sunil Gavaskar was a perfect skipper for a leg-spinner like him, much the same as Sourav Ganguly was for Anil Kumble.

"A leg-spinner needs a very good captain and Sunny bhai was exactly that. If you see the success of Anil Kumble under Sourav Ganguly was amazing because the captain and the leg-spinner have to work together in tandem," added Laxman Sivaramakrishnan

Laxman Sivaramakrishnan signed off by pointing out that Gavaskar's only ask from Ravi Shastri and him was to snare wickets in the middle overs, even if they proved to be slightly expensive.

"All Sunny bhai told me and Ravi, that he wanted 4-5 wickets in our 20 overs even if we went for five an over, which was pretty expensive in 1985. So, the whole plan was to break the middle order in the middle overs and make sure we get the opposition all out," concluded Sivaramakrishnan

Ravi Shastri walked away with the Player of the Tournament award for all his all-round performance in the 1985 World Championship of Cricket. But Laxman Sivaramakrishnan played a significant role in India's triumph as he finished as the highest wicket-taker in the tournament, with 10 scalps to his name at an excellent average of 18.60.

Published 06 Jan 2021, 12:41 IST
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