In 40 years of watching international cricket, one of the absolute highlights remains an innings I saw by the stocky Sri Lankan Duleep Mendis. It was played at Delhi‘s Feroz Shah Kotla ground in the first week of November 1975. Sri Lanka, who had not yet been awarded Test status, were touring India, and playing the North Zone in preparation for the unofficial “Tests” to follow.
Mendis’ father was a cricket fan, and named his son after KS Duleepsinhji, nephew of the immortal Ranji. Duleep, who – like his uncle – played for Cambridge University, Sussex, and England, was an artist with the bat, using skill and timing to great effect. His Sri Lankan namesake, however, relied more on brute power. On this day at the Kotla he took apart an outstanding attack, which included India’s new-ball pair, Madan Lal and Mohinder Amarnath, and the great slow-left-arm spinner Bishan Bedi. Also bowling for North Zone was Rajinder Goel, a left-armer almost in the Bedi league, who would have played many Tests himself had his career not overlapped with the sardar’s. Read the rest of this entry ?