Srinivasaraghavan Venkataraghavan Biography
Srinivasaraghavan Venkataraghavan is a former captain and a very skilled off-break bowler of the Indian cricket team. Born on 21 April 1945, he also earned a place in the inaugural panel of elite umpires of ICC in 2002.
Venkataraghavan made his Ranji Trophy debut at the age of 18. He played 341 first class matches, in which he took 1390 wickets - second highest in Indian domestic history just after Bishan Bedi' s 1560.
He led South Zone and Tamil Nadu for over a decade. His promising stats in the domestic cricket paved an easy way to the Indian team.
The transformation was very quick from domestic cricket to international cricket and he made his international debut against New Zealand in 1965 at the age of 19. Venkata had a dream start with 21 wickets in the four match test series. This included a career best figures of 8/72 at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium in Delhi.
His ODI debut came in 1974 against England, where the spinner could manage only one wicket in India’s loss. Incidentally, that was the first ODI match India had ever played.
Rise to Glory
Srinivas Venkataraghavan was a part of the spin quartet of B. S. Chandrasekhar, Bishan Singh Bedi and E. A. S. Prasanna, who teased and tormented the batsmen with varying degrees of spin and accuracy.
He led the team as a vice captain to the historic wins against West Indies in 1971 and England later that year. His figures of 5/95 at Port of Spain were vital in securing a victory for India.
Venkata played an important role, claiming five wickets in the Trinidad Test and 13 wickets in the three Tests in England.
In 1974, under temporary captaincy given to Venkata against West Indies, the then young debutant Viv Richards thrashed 192 runs and India lost the match and not so favourite of selectors, Raghavan was placed as 12th man in the next test surprisingly.
The quartet would compete probably for three places in the team and it was a merry go round sort of thing in terms of selection.
In between all the confusion and humiliation regarding ignorance in his selection in the national team at several times, Venkata was offered a contract from Derbyshire in 1973.
Venkata did justice to the trust shown by the club as he took 72 wickets in his debut season, bowling well over 800 overs. He also scored over 400 runs and held over 20 catches too, fielding very well in the close positions.
Like many other big achievements under his belt, Venkata was the captain to lead India in the first ever World Cup in 1975 and was again at the helm in 1979. However, his tenure as captain was not very successful as India’s performance in both the World Cups was not very impressive.
Venkata bid adieu to the Test cricket in 1983 in the midway of the series against Pakistan. He went wicketless in his last match which eventually ended as a draw.
His last assignment in ODI was against West Indies at St George's in 1983. His only wicket of the match was Sir Viv Richards.
As a Manager and Umpire
Venkata was an able administrator after his retirement and managed several Indian teams after his retirement. He then turned into umpiring and was brought laurels in that field too.
His umpiring debut came during the India versus England series in 1993, where he was the on-field umpire in the ODIs as well as Test. He officiated 73 Tests and 52 ODIs before retiring in March 2004.
He was indeed brisk decisive and commanding in nature, which made him one of the best of his era and was nominated to the newly formed ICC Elite Panel in 2002.
The highlights of his umpiring career include six Ashes Tests and appointments to three World Cups in 1996, 1999 and 2003.