Published: April 13, 2020 3:55:13 pm
Sanjeev Sharma is a fantastic raconteur with an amazing ability to laugh at himself. The only Indian to record a five-wicket haul at Sharjah, the 54-year-old former Delhi medium pacer tickled the funny bone with a straight face while recollecting his three seasons with the Indian team from 1988 to 90.
Many remember Sharma as the unlucky man, who could have dismissed Graham Gooch cheaply in the 1990 Lord’s Test when Kiran More dropped a regulation catch. Gooch scored 333 and 123 in a comprehensive English victory. Sharma never played a Test match after that.
“It’s part and parcel of the game. Who knows if Kiran had taken that catch, my Test career would have been different. But let me tell you, I was the top scorer in Indian second innings with 38. More than Sachin Tendulkar, Dilip Vengsarkar, Mohammed Azharuddin and Sanjay Manjrekar. How about that,” he said, knowing well that it could invoke laughter.
His best moment in a career of two Tests and 23 ODIs came when he picked 5 for 26 against the West Indies in Sharjah back in 1988.
“We didn’t play in Sharjah after 2000 but that record stands. It was certainly the highlight of my career, getting five against the West Indies in an Indian win. Gordon Greenidge tried attacking me and Kapil Paaji caught him at mid-off. But I would give more credit to Hiru (Narendra Hirwani) as he got Carl Hooper in the nick of time. It helped me clean off the tail,” he recollected.
He didn’t get the Man-of-the-Match award, though.
“Yeah, that’s okay. Because Chika bhai (Krishnamachari Srikkanth) got a hundred against Patrick Patterson, Courtney Walsh, Curtley Ambrose and Winston Benjamin. I remember the adjudicator was Tony Lewis and even before the game ended, it was announced that Srikkanth had won the award.”
The funniest stories are from the tour of West Indies under Dilip Vengsarkar’s captaincy in 1989.
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