This was first published on December 29, 2015 on Aditya Sondhi’s Facebook profile here. Reproduce below with consent.
NLSIU will never be known for its cricket. But like the Dead Poets’ Society, there are a few of us who gave cricket a shot while in law school and have secret tales to tell. Only in NLS would the captain (yours truly) get a mouthful from his teammate – anonymous, lest he curse me again – for being dropped from the final eleven. Only here, would our opening bowlers get sledged by their own wicket-keeper and first slip for being thrashed by the Al Ameen openers.
As captain I once shouted across to a senior to ‘bowl tight, da’. He completed the over, walked to the boundary, got on his scooter and left the ground annoyed. And then, there was the deceptive opening bowler who had the openers of Osmania University in two minds – whether to hit him for four or for six.
But, through practice sessions on wretched SAI wickets and trips to gorgeous grounds in Tirupati, cricket at NLS was a sure-shot for fun and fellowship. Low on talent, but high on spirit, we played some memorable games almost upsetting powerhouses SJCC and RVCE. Being an autonomous university helped us play inter-university tournaments as well, with some success in Hyderabad.
So, here’s my ‘all-time’ NLS XI from the years we knocked around on cricket fields. Clearly, not a side that will give others sleepless nights. But one for the collector’s.
1. Soumo Ganguly (’96) – swashbuckling opening bat. Never cared to stay at the crease beyond half an hour. But time enough to notch up some big runs.
2. Abhishek Dutta (‘02) – a compact opener. Looked every bit the part.
3. Sudhir Krishnaswamy (’98) – scholar-batsman. Dravid, sans the talent. Bowled some decent leg-spin too. And a ‘thinker’.
4. Nandan Kamath (’00) – our own Freddy Flintoff. Brilliant number 4 and could bowl some seam-ups (and off breaks) when needed. Sheer talent.
5. T.K. Bhaskar (’95) – steady middle-order bat and off-spinner. And a lovely bloke to have on the side.
6. Bipin Balakrishna (’96) – rock star and (self-proclaimed) pillar of strength. An all-rounder, who bowled medium-pace and made many bad jokes.
7. Manoj Menon† (’96) – our best wicket keeper. (Sorry, Sawant Singh!). Thorough team-man, he passed off as a batsman at times. Now passes off as a golfer.
8. Kartik Seshadri (’96) – captain extraordinaire. One of the few chaps who could genuinely swing the new ball. And drop himself from the side when pissed off.
9. Rabindra Jhunjhunwala (’99) – tearaway opening bowler. Got through the defences of some Ranji players from the opposition. (On his good days.)
10. Srinivas Katta (’96) –awkwardly quick off-spinner. Gave left-handers a torrid time (I confess). When he was not sneezing, that is. Called ‘Sneezy’, hence.
11. Praveen Viswas (’98) – sharp opening bowler, could actually reverse-swing the odd ball. Had delusions of being West Indian. And R.D. Burman.
Manager: Gokul Kishan (’98) – ‘Sir’ Goks never faced a ball, but believed his team could with aplomb. Sigh. Knighted by us for his efforts.
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