This World Cup, some famous tall cricketers (Inzy, McGrath, Kumble) have announced their retirement from the shorter version of the game. And this post is all about a few short cricketers who made it big.
Short is great?
It is not clear whether being short in stature is a passport to greatness as a batsman. But great players who have many a batting record in their name like Don Bradman, Hanif Mohammad, Sunil Gavaskar, Brian Lara and Sachin Tendulkar are short in stature. Surely, great things come in small packs.
Taller than thou
Sunil Gavaskar always claimed that he is tall enough especially in comparison with his brother-in-law, Gundappa Vishwanath.
Taller but not stronger
During the series between Rest of the World and Australia, Tony Greig borrowed a bright coloured turban from Bishan Singh Bedi and wore it while fielding. “The thing was so heavy and I thought my neck was breaking,” he later complained to Bedi. “You may be a big man Greigy, but only the strongest can wear the turban,” said the genial Sardar.
When Gundappa Vishwanath scored a hundred in the 1973 Bombay Test, Tony Greig lifted and cradled him in his arms much to the delight of the spectators.
Being short in stature can sometimes land you in trouble. When Md. Azharuddin got his third hundred in the Kanpur Test to become the first batsman to score three consecutive 100s in his first three Tests, the entire Indian team stood up to applaud him from the player’s gallery. But there was one person, who it is said, was conspicuous by his absence. It was none other than the then captain of the team, Sunil Gavaskar. “Is Gavaskar jealous of Azhar?” asked the headline of a magazine. However, in what can be termed as a hidden fact, Sunny was very much there but was ‘over shadowed’ literally, by some taller players who stood in front of him. Poor Sunny!
“I always thought the batsman who broke my record would be 6 foot 2 inches tall. But you are shorter than me.” Don Bradman on meeting Hanif Mohammad of Pakistan who had broken his record of the highest First Class score of 452 by scoring 499 runs.
Where Short is Sweet
“Being short was a real big blus as far as playing the West Indian quickies was concerned.” – Sunil Gavaskar
‘Little master’ Sunil Gavaskar and Sachin Tendulkar are of the same height. That is why, Gavaskar could present his pupil a pair of ‘special & lucky’ extra light pads of his made specially for shorter men. Tendulkar played his first international matches wearing those leg guards. Watching Tendulkar bat, Gavaskar commented: I gave him those pads thinking he would, like me, have to do a lot of running between the wickets, but he hits only 4s and 6s.
When Sunil Gavaskar toured Australia with the Rest of the World team, Sir Don Bradman came to the Adelaide airport to meet the team. He came around asking: Where is the little fellow from India? While he and Gavaskar were chatting, Gary Sobers said, “Hey you little blokes must gang up together, huh?” Bradman turned to Gavaskar and said, “These blokes have the power, but we little ones have the footwork, huh?”