Excellent beginning for Bhuvneshwar Kumar


Chennai: Debutant pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who gave India a sensational start against Pakistan here on Sunday by taking a wicket with his first ball in One-Day Internationals, has impressed former Pakistani batsman Sadiq Mohammad, among others.

Sadiq, who watched the first ODI here as a goodwill ambassador of the Pakistan Cricket Board, said he liked the way the Uttar Pradesh right-armer bowled.

“Kumar impressed me with his natural swing. He seemed likely to get any batsman out in his first fourfive overs,” Sadiq told reporters.

Sadiq felt that Sachin Tendulkar, who retired recently from ODIs, should have given an opportunity to his fans to bid him a warm farewell.

“He should have said something like this… that the first ODI against Pakistan would be his last. He should have given time to his fans to clap for him [for one last time in ODIs],” he felt.

Sadiq, the youngest of the four famous Mohammad brothers to play Test cricket, was happy that the India-Pakistan bilateral series has resumed after five years.

“They should play reciprocal cricket, and it’s good that they have resumed,” said the 67-year-old Karachi-based former player.

But he felt that the India-Pakistan battle has taken more aggressive overtones compared to the time when he played Test cricket, between 1969 and 1981.

“ It has become more aggressive, and the electronic media has played a big role in making it look aggressive. Players hug each other now [at the fall of every wicket]. In our days, there were no hugs and kisses,” he said, drawing laughter from the gathering.

Sadiq claimed he was the first batsman to wear a helmet in Test cricket, against England at Edgbaston, Birmingham, in 1978. “ At that time, Asif Iqbal and Denis Amiss had a contract with Saint Peter company and they wore those funny looking helmets. But I was the first one to wear a helmet,” he said with a smile.

He then quipped: “When I did that, they [media] said ‘give him a bike as well’.”

In March 1975, during the Karachi Test against the West Indies, he was hit behind his left ear by a shot while fielding at short leg, but he returned to score a defiant 98 not out at No. 7 and help draw the match.

Sadiq, who now wears a hearing aid in both his ears, admitted that no day passes off when he doesn’t get a shiver thinking about that shot from Vanburn Holder’s bat. “From that day when I was hit till last night, each day I have got a shiver when I have thought about that injury,” he admitted.

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