Breeding Talent: Brett Lee- from Backyard, to World's. Fastest Bowler “As much as I wanted to bowl as fast as I could at that age, seeing the results made me. ISE (Internet Safe Education) creator, Brett Lee, worked as a Queensland Police. Officer for 22 years, 16 of those as a Detective predominantly in the field of. Brett Lee (born 8 November ) is an Australian former international cricketer, who played all Create a book · Download as PDF · Printable version.
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The much anticipated autobiography of one of cricket's greatest fast bowlers. Brett Lee is known throughout the cricketing world as one of the. My Life book. Read 6 reviews from the world's largest community for readers. Brett Lee is known throughout the cricketing world as one of the fastest and. Editorial Reviews. About the Author. Brett Lee is an Australian cricketer. Lee won the inaugural The much anticipated autobiography of one of cricket's greatest fast bowlers. Brett Lee is known throughout the cricketing world as one of the.
Nitin, Ajit and Savita are all older than me, and not only am I the youngest in the family but I was also the worst behaved. I was just fourteen then and was sharing a room with Suru Nayak, a former India international. Shortly after going back to the hotel, however, I felt heavy in the head. You are fortunate to be representing your country, and that is a great honour. It was a routine I would repeat right through during my summer holidays and it helped me to build up physical and mental stamina. For my mother in particular it was an arduous journey, since travelling there from her office in Santa Cruz in peak-hour traffic on public transport was a real challenge back then.
Brett Lee James Knight. Online retailers Or. Online retailers. Love Brett Lee - My Life? Subscribe to Read More to find out about similar books. Sign up to our newsletter using your email. Thank you! Your subscription to Read More was successful. Brett Lee Sport Beats. Best of T Syed Komail. Snovia Javed. Best bowling and wicket. Best bowling and wickets. Brett Lee nearly kills a batsman, in test cricket.
Daily news. Brett Lee reminds Darren Powell, their is no fast bowling union. Karachi vs Lahore PSL Kanz TV. In the semi- final, Madan Lal, former India fast bowler and coach, was playing for Delhi and I remember playing a straight drive to him that was much talked about that evening.
It was a shot that got me noticed, adding to my stock at the time.
Everything about the shot was perfect — balance, head position, timing — and the ball raced to the boundary. My performances for Mumbai got me selected for the season-opening Irani Trophy match at the beginning of November The Irani Trophy, between the Ranji Trophy champions and the Rest of India, is a key component of the Indian domestic cricket calendar and is a major opportunity to get noticed. Playing for the Rest of India, I scored a hundred against Ranji champions Delhi in my first Irani Trophy game and it was during this match that the Indian touring team for the much-awaited tour to Pakistan in November—December was announced.
Before I knew it, at sixteen years of age, I had been picked to play for India. Getting an opportunity to fulfil my dream at such an early age was indeed very special. What made it even more significant was that we were playing Pakistan in Pakistan and their bowling attack included fast bowlers of the quality of Imran Khan, Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and Aaqib Javed, not to mention the leg-spinners Mushtaq Ahmed and Abdul Qadir — quite a test for any debutant.
It was baptism by fire. So much so that after my very first innings in Test cricket, during which I was all at sea against Wasim and Waqar, I began to doubt my ability to bat and questioned whether I was ever going to be good enough to play at international level. Before describing my debut series, I want to go back to that first Irani Trophy game for the Rest of India against Delhi.
The disappointment did not last long, however, because it was that evening when I learned I had been named in the Indian squad for the Pakistan tour. Ecstatic at my inclusion, I was determined to make a mark in the second innings.
The occasion was particularly special because my brother had come to see me play. In fact, since I was a minor and could not sign the tour contract, Ajit had to sign it on my behalf. Vasu Paranjpe had also mentioned to my father that morning that I would surely get a hundred and said that he should come and watch me bat.
My father did just that and, to his satisfaction, what Vasu Sir had predicted came true. However, the century would not have happened but for the contribution of Gursharan Singh, the Punjab batsman who later played a Test match for India against New Zealand in Gursharan had fractured his finger while batting against the bowling of Atul Wassan, a Delhi fast bowler who also made his debut for India against New Zealand in He was sitting in the dressing room injured and there seemed to be no way he could play a further part in the match.
I was batting well and was unbeaten on 86 when our ninth wicket fell. Just then I saw Gursharan walking towards me, ready to bat one-handed. It was later revealed to me that Raj Singh Dungarpur, then chairman of the national selection committee, had asked if he would go out and help me get to my hundred. In an exemplary show of courage, Gursharan had agreed. In fact, when we met at the wicket I felt distinctly embarrassed seeing him there in such severe pain. I told him that it would be perfectly understandable if we called off the innings.
It was a favour I would never forget. It was a show of remarkable resilience by Gursharan and I tried to repay the debt by doing what I could at the time of his benefit match in Delhi in April I am glad I was able to keep my promise.
The whole political baggage of India—Pakistan cricket meant nothing to me. I was simply treating it as my first tour, which was challenge enough. In any case, no one really expected me to be a part of the playing XI at such a young age, certainly not in any of the Tests.
To be honest, all the talk passed me by. I just wanted to do well for India and score a lot of runs. Other than that, everything else seemed unimportant. That was natural enough, because everything had happened rather quickly in my life.
Just five years after I took to playing competitive cricket, I had become a part of the Indian squad — it was a pretty quick move from school to international cricket.
Their friendly approach helped put me at ease and it was not until we reached Lahore that a curfew was imposed on going out in the evenings. On my travels around India I had always bought gifts such as sarees for my mother and aunt and shirts for my father and uncle, and so in the first few days in Pakistan I did the same.
This time I bought them some local shoes and slippers. The matter had gone right up to the Indian Supreme Court and was eventually settled when the court lifted a ban imposed on the players by the BCCI. The other controversy that arose on the eve of the tour was over the issue of match fees.
It had escalated into a serious dispute, with the players opting to give up their match fees altogether as a mark of protest. Fortunately for the junior players in the team, skipper Krishnamachari Srikkanth instructed us to stay away from the problems and concentrate on the job at hand, which was to evolve a strategy to tackle Imran, Wasim, Waqar and Abdul Qadir. It was a decent innings and I received a standing ovation from the crowd.
I began to feel I had a slim chance of getting into the Test team and dared to dream of my first Test cap.
I finally heard the news of my inclusion in the playing XI from skipper Srikkanth on the night before the first Test in Karachi. It is very difficult to describe the feeling.
I was part of a band of eleven fortunate men who had been given the duty of representing close to a billion Indians. It was an honour every aspiring cricketer lives for, to play for his country against the best of world cricket. And with the honour came responsibility. I was going to be accountable to the cricket fans back home and was expected to give my best for them. In fact, I could imagine nothing more significant than doing something worthy for the national team and the passionate Indian cricket fans.
I was sharing a room with Salil Ankola, the fast bowler who has now gone on to become an actor. Salil was bowling well at the time and was also making his Test debut. We were both about to start a new chapter and were aware that it was an opportunity that could change our lives for ever. My life had taken a giant leap and it is a moment I will always remember. Only Sunil Gavaskar and Dilip Vengsarkar had achieved the distinction before. In the post-lunch session a bearded man clad in salwar kameez entered the field and went straight up to Kapil Dev, abusing him for being in Pakistan.
Kapil, who was preparing to bowl at the time, later recounted to us that he asked the fellow to leave him alone and allow him to continue with the game. After his exchange with Kapil, the intruder then went over to mid off, where Manoj Prabhakar, our top fast bowler on the tour, was fielding.
He abused Prabhakar before moving on to skipper Srikkanth — and with Srikkanth he got physical. In those days, with the sport far less commercialized, players could choose what kit to wear. Most of our team preferred T-shirts, but Srikkanth liked to wear a buttoned shirt and this was torn open in the scuffle. I was fielding at point and I was scared I would be next and was ready to run to the safe confines of the dressing room if the intruder came towards me.
Up to this point, no security personnel had done anything to stop the intruder from disrupting things in the middle. It was only when the Indian captain was being manhandled that security finally came onto the ground to drag the spectator off.
It was a serious security lapse, yet the organizers seemed hardly perturbed. The truth is that it was much more than a cricket match that was being played between the two teams. The political history of partition has always cast a pall over India—Pakistan cricket and it was my first taste of this unfortunate reality.
The next day we were even more astonished to find the Pakistan press suggesting that the intruder had actually been trying to congratulate Kapil Dev on playing his th Test match. All at sea On the second day of the match, Pakistan were all out for , with skipper Imran Khan scoring not out. Finally, it was our turn to bat. Wasim and Waqar were bowling really fast and it was a trying time for every Indian batsman.
I was trying to be aggressive to almost every ball, as that was how I had always played the game. I was trying to get on top of the bowlers, but more often than not I was comprehensively beaten.
The pace was far greater than I had ever faced and the skill on display was of the very highest standard. The guile of both bowlers left me thoroughly confused. An account of one Wasim over will give an idea of my plight in the middle.
I was on strike to him for the third ball of the over, which turned out to be a vicious bouncer. It turned out to be another bouncer, which I left. My stay at the crease was short and not sweet. I had lasted only twenty-four balls, at least half of which I had missed.
I had hit two boundaries but not for a moment had I felt comfortable. It was only a matter of time before I was dismissed. I was finally bowled for a rather lucky 15 by another debutant, Waqar Younis, and on my way back to the pavilion my mind was riddled with self-doubt. It was a very important moment in my career. I had come to the international stage after blazing my way through domestic cricket.
I had managed to score a hundred on debut in the Ranji and Irani trophies, but here I was on the international stage unable to put bat on ball. I was struggling, plain and simple. The difference in standard between domestic and international cricket was colossal. I batted only once in that first Test match, which ended in a draw, and in the following days I approached our coach, Chandu Borde, and a number of senior team-mates to discuss what I needed to do to improve.
I had a long chat with Ravi Shastri, already an established star at the time, who advised me to be patient for the first fifteen or twenty minutes, which were bound to be uncomfortable.
Ravi was of the opinion that once I had played out the initial burst from the Pakistani bowlers, things would turn easier.
The key was to spend time in the middle. But would I be given another opportunity to do so? I could easily have missed out on the second Test, not only because of my low score in the first but also because of the way I had batted. It came as a huge relief to see my name in the playing XI for the second Test at Faisalabad.
Second Test, Faisalabad, 23—28 November I knew it was a chance I could not afford to squander; it would be a big test of my ability and temperament. What made the task considerably more difficult was that Pakistan won the toss on a green-top and put India in to bat.
The stage was set. All through my career I have relished these moments of adversity. It is no good just performing on a docile track against weak opposition. A cricketer gets true satisfaction only if he is able to perform in difficult conditions against the best bowlers. Once again we lost early wickets and I went in to bat with four top-order wickets down for I have no qualms about confessing that it was difficult.
The bowlers were definitely on top at the start of my innings, but with time things turned easier. I was able to adjust to the pace and bounce of the wicket, and my confidence was gradually coming back.
I managed to play balls en route to my first half-century in Test cricket and was finally dismissed by Imran for I was involved in a run partnership with Sanjay Manjrekar and though I hit only four boundaries, the innings gave me a lot of satisfaction. It also taught me a good lesson: Most importantly, this knock convinced me that I could actually cope with international cricket, though I knew I still had a lot to learn.
In the second innings I ran myself out for eight, sacrificing my wicket for Mohammad Azharuddin, who was nearing a well-deserved hundred. In the end, we managed to thwart a Pakistan victory.
After two Tests the series was still drawn and it was evident that Pakistan were feeling the pressure. Many had predicted a 4—0 scoreline in their favour and it was starting to play on their minds. Unable to venture out of the hotel in the evenings, the players and the touring Indian media were feeling a little restless and this called for some original thinking.
It was to be an evening of stories, music, food and fun and everyone had to wear something fancy. It definitely helped to create a bond between the team and the media, so necessary during an arduous away tour.
The food served that evening was unbelievable. In fact, I had a voracious appetite throughout the tour. My body was still growing and I ate huge amounts. On non-match days I used to eat keema parathas mincemeat parathas and lassi yogurt drink for breakfast and by the time I went back to India I had put on a few kilos and had also grown much stronger.
Even after five days, the first innings of both teams had still not been completed. At the start of my innings in Lahore I misjudged the bounce of a straight delivery from Imran, which hit me on my biceps.
I was furious at allowing myself to be hit on a flat pitch. The point of impact instantly turned numb and my first instinct was to step out and dispatch the very next ball over the boundary. However, the lesson learnt at Faisalabad came to my rescue and I reined myself in. I had worked my way to 41 off ninety balls when I tried to play an on drive to Abdul Qadir and was bowled.
I had been batting well and I regret not going on to play a long innings. It was an opportunity missed. It has to be said, though, that the match, a tame draw, was not the best advertisement for Test cricket.
By now they were desperate to win; a draw would have been considered a series defeat for Imran and his team. I went to the factory with a few of the other players and chose two or three bats for myself. I was so excited about my new bats that I even dreamed about them one night. Apparently, it was around midnight and I walked straight out of my room asking for my bats.
They helped me back into the room and put me back to bed. By that stage of the tour, Raman and I had struck up a good friendship and spent many hours together discussing the nuances of batting. He was fun to be with and it was absolutely tragic that he died after being struck on his head by a ball while fielding during a first-class match in Dhaka in It was an added incentive to do well and both Ajit and I still remember the kindness the locals bestowed on him the moment they became aware that he was from India and had come to watch cricket.
As expected, the wicket was green, but the December weather was also heavy, resulting in a lot of early-morning fog.
So much so that play never started on time and it ended early each afternoon. This meant the four Pakistani fast bowlers could come at us all day, hoping to roll us over and secure the upper hand. In the first innings I played pretty well for my 35 and was feeling good before falling lbw to Wasim. I hit some pleasing shots and scored at a good clip in the course of my ball stay at the wicket.
India managed a run first-innings lead, with Vivek Razdan, a fast bowler who played two Tests for India, picking up 5—79 in the Pakistan first innings. We had bowled them out for and understandably Pakistan came back at us hard at the start of our second innings. We lost a cluster of early wickets and I went in to bat at 38—4, with a day and a half still to go in the match.
Waqar was bowling from one end and it was absolutely essential to survive the initial burst. I had just scored my first run when Waqar bowled a short delivery, which I expected would rise chin-high. I misjudged the bounce of the ball. It rose six inches higher than expected and hit me on the flap of my helmet before deflecting and hitting my nose. At the time I was the only batsman besides Srikkanth not to wear a grille. Ajit, who was sitting right in front of the Indian dressing room, later said to me that he had clearly heard the sound of the ball hitting my helmet and deflecting on to my nose.
My vision was blurred and my head felt heavy. After impact, the ball went towards the slips and my natural movement was to see where the ball had gone. It was then that I noticed all the blood spattered on my shirt. I ignored all this while our team doctor, Vishwas Raut, inspected the injury. He put some ice on my nose and asked if I wanted to go off. I did not, for I considered it a moment of reckoning. Going off would suggest I was scared.
It was important for my own self-esteem, and by staying in I felt I had made a statement to the opposition. Seeing me continue, Imran asked Javed to move away and all the Pakistani players went back to their respective field positions. Soon after the resumption, I got a full ball from Waqar on my legs and flicked it to the boundary. I followed it up with a drive on the off side and felt genuinely good about myself.
Soon it was time for tea and I had an opportunity to regroup. After the break I started to bat really well. I was feeling confident and was determined not to give my wicket away. Importantly for the team, I managed to play out the day and we were on course to force a draw. Shortly after going back to the hotel, however, I felt heavy in the head.
We had a team function in the evening but I asked permission from manager Chandu Borde and went to bed early after taking a few painkillers and having dinner with Ajit and Navjot Sidhu, which helped me calm down. We were on —4 overnight and needed to spend at least two more hours at the crease to deny Pakistan any opportunity of winning the Test.
Navjot Sidhu and I held out until I was dismissed by Imran for It was my second half-century in Test cricket. Denying Pakistan a win on home turf was a big achievement for India, especially with the kind of bowling attack they had, and it served as a major confidence boost for the team. We were all elated at the performance.
The Abdul Qadir over After the Tests, we played a five-match one-day series in which none of the matches was played for the scheduled fifty overs. While some of them were affected by rain, the third match was abandoned because of crowd trouble after Pakistan had been reduced to 29—3 by some good swing bowling from Manoj Prabhakar.
The first match was due to be played in Peshawar on 16 December and had to be called off at the last moment because of rain. However, a large crowd had braved the inclement weather and it was finally agreed between both teams that a twenty-over-a-side exhibition game, perhaps the first ever Twenty20 game, would be played for the sake of the crowd.
They are the ones who make the game what it is, after all, and they are pivotal to its health around the world. At Peshawar Pakistan had scored in their innings, and when I went in to bat with three wickets down, the asking rate had climbed to well past 11 runs an over.
Srikkanth was batting with me and suggested we should dig in and get some practice for the following games. I was determined to go for the bowling and felt we still had a chance to make a match of it if we played our shots. Mushtaq Ahmed, an up-and-coming Pakistani leg-spinner at that stage, was bowling and I hit him for a couple of sixes and a boundary in the first over I faced.
While both sixes were hit over long on, the second went a fair distance and hit the dressing-room window, breaking the glass. With just two overs left we needed more than 40 runs and Qadir was to bowl the penultimate over. Our only chance was to attack.
As it happened, most of the balls were in my hitting arc and I took 28 off the over. I hit the first ball for six over long on and followed it up with a four off the third ball.
Seeing me hit straight, Qadir bowled the fifth ball wide outside off stump in an attempt to get me stumped.
I had anticipated the move and hit the ball over long off for the third six of the over. For the last ball he went even further outside off stump and I stretched out to hit the ball wide over long off, to make it four sixes in the over. The crowd, which had been confident of a Pakistan victory till an over earlier, was roused by this unexpected turn of events and started making a lot of noise.
There was a sudden increase in energy levels at the ground. The match was now being played in full seriousness and no one really knew which team would win.
We needed 14 runs off the last over, bowled by Wasim Akram. Eventually we fell short by three runs. That innings of 53 off eighteen balls at Peshawar had a defining impact on my career.
In the eyes of the public, it had overshadowed my effort at Sialkot, which was far more difficult and far more significant as far as I was concerned. The Sialkot innings had allowed us to save the Test match and also the series.
But for people at home the innings at Peshawar was the real talking point. It had given me instant recognition and made me a household name.
For the first time I was asked for autographs, which was a strange feeling. Before we went to Pakistan I had been able to go out with my friends and have bhel a type of fast food loved all over Mumbai and do all those normal things. Afterwards, when I went out with my friends, people would come up and ask if I was Sachin Tendulkar. And it was all down to that one innings at Peshawar. While it would have been premature to suggest I had established myself at international level, it had certainly given me a toehold.
When I got home, I could tell that my parents were proud of my achievements, but there has never been any over-the-top celebration in my house. Sometimes people are kind enough to compliment me on my off-the-field behaviour more than my on-field performance. They say that I seem to have managed to keep my feet grounded. While there were many senior team-mates who I could go to, I was most comfortable discussing things with Ajit, as he knew my game better than anyone.
He had watched me grow up as a cricketer and it was natural that his observations would always be pertinent. I was pretty confident of getting picked but was still delighted to see myself in the squad when the touring side was announced. India in Pakistan 1st Test. In the challenge was doubly difficult, with Richard Hadlee, one of the finest ever exponents of swing bowling, close to his best. As a seventeen-year-old on his first tour away from the subcontinent, I was excited about the opportunity.
The accent of the locals there was very strange to our ears and the food took some getting used to. The accent problem resulted in an incident involving Manoj Prabhakar very early in the tour.
Prabhakar needed an adapter to charge his gadgets and for some reason decided to put on what he thought was a New Zealand accent while speaking to the housekeeping staff in the hotel. In a few minutes there was a knock on his door and he opened it to find a doctor standing there. The first game of the tour was in New Plymouth and the ground was surrounded by hills.
It was as if a stadium had been planted in the middle of mountains and Bishan Singh Bedi, our manager, decided to make the most of the conditions. Bedi, one of the best left-arm spinners of all time, was a really hard taskmaster and liked to make us run huge distances to improve our fitness. At New Plymouth our fitness drills involved running in the mountains and by the end of the training sessions we had absolutely no energy left. As in Pakistan, I did not start particularly well and in the first Test at Christchurch, which started on 2 February, I was dismissed by Danny Morrison for a golden duck.
It was a good delivery but the send-off was interesting, to say the least. I could hear most of the New Zealand players calling me a schoolboy, with plenty of F-words thrown in. I kept my mouth shut. The second innings was an improvement in that I managed to stay at the wicket for close to an hour, playing forty-four balls. My 24 runs were enough to give me confidence that I was capable of holding my own in strange conditions. Although I had fallen to John Bracewell, trying to cut a ball close to my body, I had successfully negotiated Richard Hadlee, which I counted as an achievement.
Such was the ability of the man that you had to be at your best at all times to keep him at bay. New Zealand won the first Test by ten wickets and the second Test match at Napier started only a few days later, on 9 February. We decided to bat first after winning the toss but the first day was completely washed out by rain. When I went in to bat on the fourth morning the possibility of a hundred was on my mind.
I was just 20 runs short and was determined to take my opportunity. I started well and hit the very first Danny Morrison delivery for four.
For the rest of the over he bowled short and I was content to leave everything. In his next over, I again hit a boundary off the first ball. The next was pitched up and I had already made up my mind to go for a big drive but the drive was uppish and I was caught by the New Zealand captain John Wright at mid off for I was heartbroken.
Why on earth did I play that shot when I was just twelve runs short? By the time I reached the boundary rope, tears were flowing down my cheeks.
On reaching the dressing room, I went straight to the bathroom and cried for a good few minutes. Missing out on what should have been my first Test hundred was just too painful. It was only later that I was told I would have been the youngest Test centurion ever. We eventually lost the three-Test match series 0—1 and then played the Rothmans Cup one-day tri- series, with Australia as the third team. The only difference was that this time I had lasted one more ball.
In the end, we lost the game by runs. I made a better fist of it in my next match, on 6 March , an important one in the context of the tournament.
We had lost to Australia in the second game and now needed to beat New Zealand to stay in contention for the final. I made 36 runs off thirty-nine balls, in the process attacking their seam bowlers for the first time and hitting them for quite a few boundaries.
We won the game by one run, with Martin Snedden run out and Richard Hadlee bowled in the final over by Kapil Dev, who was declared Man of the Match for his all-round performance. For the first time my innings had been of use to the team in an official ODI.
It was the first serious injury of my career and my tournament was over. While we were in New Zealand, Asha Bhosle, one of the all-time great Indian singers, happened to be performing in Wellington and the team decided to go to her concert. It was the first time I had seen her live and I just loved the experience. On my return to India, my father told me that I had to hone my God-given cricketing ability. He was right. It was time for more hard work to master the skills needed to face the fast swinging ball and I was determined to put in the hours in the nets.
India had won a Test series in England in and we were all looking forward to repeating the feat. We had a training camp in Bangalore just before the series and Bishan Bedi continued with his policy of making us run miles every day. We had to jog in a line at Cubbon Park, opposite the Chinnaswamy Stadium, and the last man in the line had to sprint to the front. The same drill was followed for all the players and the exhausting routine finally resulted in Manoj Prabhakar jokingly suggesting that he was so fast now he would reach the batsman before his delivery did.
I had been to England twice before, in —88 and —89, as part of the Star Cricket Club, the team of Kailash Gattani a former fast bowler who played first-class cricket for Rajasthan in Indian domestic cricket.
In the first instance, I was sponsored by the Kolkata-based Young Cricketers Organization, who contributed my airfare. Among other things, I remember the tour for the food we ate. We stayed in school and college dormitories and had breakfast in their dining halls. For the first time in my life I was served cold meat for breakfast.
That meat could be eaten cold was a revelation to me! I was also amazed to see so many different types of cars. Kailash Gattani had hired a luxury sedan and I was keen to find out as much as I could about the engineering details of these fascinating machines. Besides playing cricket, these were things that kept me occupied and I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity of exploring a foreign country.
In , the tour started with a few first-class fixtures, which were followed by two one-day internationals. In the second match England produced a better performance, batting first, with Robin Smith, the South African-born middle-order batsman, contributing to their total of We needed to bat really well to close out the series.
When I went in to bat at number six we needed a further off twenty overs. In those days, that was considered a stiff target. I scored a quick 31 off twenty-six balls and was dismissed with the score on , with 33 still needed to win, but we won the match and the series 2—0, with Azhar seeing us home with an unbeaten It was a perfect start to the tour, giving us some welcome confidence going into the Test series.
After being dropped on 33, he went on to make a triple hundred. He was eventually out for and then produced another century in the second innings.
It remains the most memorable catch of my career. Hirwani had beaten Lamb in the flight as he stepped out to hit straight down the ground. As soon as Lamb hit the shot, I started sprinting from my position at long off. There was very little chance that I would make it, because I had been positioned a few yards wide of the conventional long- off position.
It was only during the last few steps that I realized I had an outside chance. I had covered a distance of more than 25 yards and was still short.
I could dive forward, but I knew I would not have enough control to catch the ball. The other option was to carry on sprinting and try somehow to get a hand to the ball, which was dying on me.
I chose the second option and to my surprise felt the ball land in my fully outstretched right hand at knee height. Having completed the catch, I threw the ball up in the air in sheer ecstasy. My team-mates were naturally delighted. Hirwani rushed to congratulate me and I felt thrilled at having pulled it off. The crowd appreciated the athletic effort and I vividly remember the warm applause as I walked back to my fielding position. The key to taking catches like these, it seems to me, is not to be afraid of taking the initiative and deciding quickly, while always keeping an eye on the trajectory of the ball.
Second Test, Old Trafford, 9—14 August In the first innings at Old Trafford, England once again put together a total of more than , with centuries from Gooch and Mike Atherton, and we simply had to get as close to their score as possible in our reply.
We were due to bat fourth in the match and any total in excess of would be difficult to chase down on a wearing pitch. Azhar made another hundred and almost everyone in the top order contributed to our first-innings effort.
Had the lower middle order scored runs, we may have got closer to the English total and even managed a first-innings lead. It might also have given me an opportunity to go for my maiden hundred. But they got out in quick succession and I ran out of partners. I went in to bat at number six with the team score on and was last man out for 68, trying to play a big shot off Eddie Hemmings.
As Hirwani would I am sure agree, he was not the best number eleven in the world. I felt I had to go for my shots sooner rather than later and I holed out to Chris Lewis at deep midwicket as a result. Hirwani was always fun to bat with and when he came in he said to me at the wicket that he would be fine as long as the balls were pitched up.
He managed to bat on for a while and gradually gained in confidence. So much so that he suddenly charged out to Chris Lewis to give the ball a real whack. He did not take kindly to a number-eleven batsman giving him the charge. He was fuming as he walked back to his bowling mark and a bouncer was now inevitable. However, in charging out Hirwani had somehow broken his bat and it took a bit of time to get a replacement from the dressing room. Luckily, the few minutes that were lost in the bat change had a calming effect on Chris Lewis and Hirwani survived his innings unscathed.
We were finally all out for , conceding an run first-innings lead. It was evident that England would want to score quickly and set us a target. Allan Lamb made a hundred in the England second innings and on the final day they declared on —4, leaving us ninety-two overs to bat out.
The English attack, consisting of Angus Fraser, Chris Lewis, Devon Malcolm and Eddie Hemmings, had some variety, and while the fast bowlers used the cloud cover to good effect, Hemmings extracted considerable purchase from the fifth-day track. Then Azhar fell with the score on and Kapil Dev was yorked by Eddie Hemmings, leaving us at a perilous —6.
My first Test hundred When Manoj Prabhakar joined me in the middle we badly needed a partnership to save the game. I had been lucky at the start of my innings, with Eddie Hemmings dropping me when I had tried to play an on drive.
The ball had hit the outside part of my bat and spooned back to Hemmings, who failed to hold on to it. I learnt my lesson and decided not to play any more uppish strokes.
At the same time I was determined to play some shots and not go into my shell.