This hero from Mysore, nurtured this passion for cricket , since childhood. A deadly polio raid devastated, the child Bhagwat Chandrasekhar. Chandra utilized his polio affected right wrist , while bowling in his spinning style. He metamorphosed his weakness into such a formidable weapon, that his spin-bowling ,frequently used to render the batting prowess of many A-class batsman, paralytic.
Post the execution of long, bouncing run-up, he often used to deliver attacking googlies, troublesome topspinners and puzzling legbreaks at close medium-pace from the back of his deformed hand .
Indeed his bowling style was unpredictable. He himself has stated that he often does not know till the last minute , before his delivery, the pattern of bowling that he would resort to .He surpassed the remaining three spin-stars of the Indian Spin Quartet, with respect to his unparalleled deliveries. Most of the times, playing balls coming from him was next to impossible for the bewildered batsman, standing in front of him. His capture of 6 pivotal wickets for a mere 38 runs, at The Oval on August 23, 1971 , gifted India their first series victory in England .
Chandra debut assignment was against Mike Smith's English echelon, when he was only 19 in 1964. He shot his way to the Test fields, the testing ground of his mettle.
He squashed the West Indies, team under Sir Gary Sobers , during their arrival in India in 1966. In the three Tests that occurred, he collected 18 wickets at an average of about 28 runs each. He retained his valiant form, with the conquering of 16 wickets in the three Tests against England in the country of England, itself in 1967.
However misfortune befell him during the purple patch period of his life. He was hurt in a scooter accident and had to seat back at home, missing the important series of India's tour to New Zealand, the coming of Australia and New Zealand to India, and the successful campaign of India in the Caribbean series of 1970-71 .
Vijay Merchant , the Chairman of Selectors, and the then captain, of the Indian team, Ajit Wadekar, during the tour to England, in 1971, welcomed Chandrasekhar back in Test match, after three years .
The repercussion was the outstanding Oval feat in 1971. Chandrasekhar, was specialized in entrapping Englishmen. He pocketed 95 English wickets, one of the highest records taken by an Indian, against a particular country. 35 wickets of these 95 wickets, was derived in one five-match series against the team of Tony Lewis in 1972-73. This is till date, the record of highest wickets picked up by any Indian bowler in any Test series.
In 1972, Chandrasekhar was bestowed upon the honour of being elected as the Wisden Cricketer of the Year.
Even, the awesome Chandrasekhar caused India's first triumph over Australia in 1978. He grabbed 12 wickets for 104 at Melbourne.His foreign expeditions are simply marvellous.In 5 Tests, he gathered 42 wickets.
Chandrasekhar's batting ability was very insignificant. He had an average of 4 and the greatest rate of ducks in Test history. He was presented a special Gray-Nicholls bat during the 1977-78 Australian tour with a hole in it to remember forever the four ducks he scored. He has 23 ducks in his career statistics.
Chandrasekhar who has represented India in 58 matches has a treasure-reservoir of 242 wickets.
After retirement, Chandra left the professional circle, took recourse to the sanctuary of family life. Even today , he is loved by teammates and fans for his amiable spirit. This born genius, is indeed a precious gem to the Indian cricket, and will be venerated always for his profound deeds.
(Last Updated on : 18-07-2014)
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