The pride of Mysore, epitome of consistency and one of the most humble stars of Indian cricket--Javagal Srinath--is a very interesting chapter of Indian cricket history.
Srinath plied his trade at a time when there was a surfeit of genuinely great pace bowlers such as Glenn McGrath, Alan Donald, Wasim Akram and Jason Gillespie. His Test wickets tally of 236 may be significantly lower than the aforementioned greats, but for a large part of his career, Srinath could rightfully keep them company. If only the Indian slip cordon was more obliging, and if he had found a decent support act at the other end, Srinath could have easily crossed the 300-wicket mark.
The Karnataka Express was at the peak of his powers between the mid-1990s and early 2000s. Srinath was India's most consistently quick bowler. Many promising Indian bowlers cut down on their pace after a season or three of international cricket. But Srinath-- a sometimes 150k pacer--maintained his more-than-lively speeds till he retired after the 2003 World Cup. In fact, at the 1999 World Cup in England, Srinath bowled the second fastest delivery at 149.6K only behind Shoaib Akhtar's 154.5k.
Srinath is the only Indian fast bowler to have 300 plus ODI wickets and only the second Indian bowler after Anil Kumble (334) to have reached that feat.
One of Srinath's most memorable performances came in 1996 at Ahmedabad against the South Africans in the latter's first full tour to India. South Africa needed a modest 170 to win the Test. All hopes rested on spinners to deny South Africa their first victory on Indian soil. However, Srinath emerged as the unlikely hero grabbing 6 for 21 on a dusty pitch. The Saffers couldn't handle the bowler's reverse swing. India won by 64 runs.
Here's wishing Javagal Srinath, one of the most underrated modern Indian cricket greats a happy 46th birthday.
Last Updated 31, Mar 2018, 6:48 PM