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Karsan Ghavri (Part I)

Meet Karsan Ghavri Face to Face as part of CricInfo's video/audio interview series.

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Karsan Ghavri
"It works both ways. Bouncer is a wake up call for a batsman and if somebody is a great hooker it might go for a four or a six."

[ Complete profile of Karsan Ghavri ]

CricInfo: I would like to ask you about your beginnings in the game first. Initially you played for Saurashtra in the Ranji Trophy before moving to Mumbai. So how did this transition come about and why did you decide to shift your base to Mumbai?

Karsan Ghavri: In 1968-69, I went to Australia with the Indian schools team and we played `Test' matches againstthe Australian schools team. I did very well in that particular series. And when I returned from Australia, the Saurashtra Cricket Association picked me to play in a Ranji Trophy match against Baroda. My third game was against Bombay at the Brabourne stadium, where I claimed four wickets including those of Ashok Mankad, Dilip Sardesai and Ajit Wadekar. Former cricketers like Madhav Mantri and Polly Umrigar watched me and they must have seen some spark in me. Former Indian wicket-keeper and skipper of ACC Indrajitsinhji invited me to come to Bombay at the instance of Mantri and Umrigar. That's how I came to Bombay and joined ACC as a professional cricketer in 1970. [Video | Audio]

[Ashok Mankad] [Dilip Sardesai] [Ajit Vadekar] [Madhav Mantri] [Polly Umrigar] [KS Indrajitsingh]

CI: You finally got a break into the Test side in 1974-75 against the West Indies and before that India had a rather established opening bowling pair in Solkar and Abid Ali. So what was the circumstances in which you managed to enter into the India team?

KG: After performing quite impressively for Bombay in the Ranji Trophy games, I was given an opportunity to play against the touring West Indies side in 1974 led by Clive Lloyd. I played two games against them, one for West Zone at Pune and the second was for Rest of India against West Indies in Jaipur. In the second game I picked up four wickets and that's how I got my first break into the side for the Eden Gardens Test match. [Video | Audio]

WI vs West Zone Scorecard: [Scorecard]
WI vs President's XI Scorecard: [Scorecard]

CI: What are your memories of that Test match when you first walked down to a cricket field for India?

KG: I think it was a great atmosphere at the Eden Gardens, which is my favourite ground of all times. It's not just because I made my debut there. When you play big games there in front of a huge crowd, I think it's a great feeling. [Video | Audio]

CI: India fought very well and you yourself did very well in that series. Do you have any special memories of that series?

KG: In my debut game I know batted at no. seven. With GR Vishwanath I shared a vital 137 run partnership though I contributed just 29 runs which helped the side to put up a sizeable total. Unfortunately, I used to get only a couple of overs to bowl with the new ball before the spinners came into the attack. With the spin quartret of Bedi, Chandra, Prasanna and Venkat in the side, they did the trick. In that game, the spinners just ran through the West Indian side in the second innings and we won the game. It was a great beginning for me personally. [Video | Audio]

[GR Viswanath] [BS Bedi] [EAS Prasanna] [BS Chandrasekhar]
Debut Match Scorecard: [Scorecard]

CI: You are an unusual kind of bowler, who used to bowl both medium fast pace and spin. How did you develop this style?

KG: Well, basically when I used to play for my school, I was a spinner and in a particular match, one of our fast bowlers got injured. So my coach and school principal asked me to run a few yards and bowl. In that match I got six wickets with the new ball and since then I bowled medium pacers. Apart from that, my idol was Sir Garfield Sobers who used to bowl spinners, medium pacers and also used to field in any position and batted at any number. He was a role model for me and I wanted to follow in his footsteps. [Video | Audio]

[GS Sobers]

CI: I heard that the bouncer was a very important part of your armoury. How did you use this delivery - as a wicket taking delivery or did you try to soften up the bastmen. Could you give some examples of this?

KG: Well it works both ways. A bouncer is a wake up call for a batsman. If he is a good hooker, then I go for runs, but at the same time, if he mistimes the shot I get his wicket. I believe I got a lot of wickets through bouncers as it may upset a batsman. [Video | Audio]

CI: You have played for India in some of the exciting Test matches. One of them was at Adelaide against Australia, where we were chasing a target of 493 in 1977-78 and we came very close. In fact you and Syed Kirmani put on a vital partnership towards the end that kept up India's hopes. Do you remember that match?

KG: We had come very close to victory then for we fell short of 47 runs. If we would have won, it would have been a great victory. [Video | Audio]

Australia v India at Adelaide: [Scorecard]

CI: There was another such Test match played against England at the Oval in 1979. Again we came very close to victory but couldn't make it in spite of a brilliant double century by Sunil Gavaskar. You remained not out at the end. To what would you attribute this missed chance?

KG: I remember I went in to bat in the last couple of overs. In fact we could have won this Test match very easily. Unfortunately Kapil played a bad shot and some of the decisions, that of Yajuvendra Singh, Sunny and Venkataraghavan went against us. Even though we lost the series, we played very good cricket in England. [Video | Audio]

[SM Gavaskar] [N Kapil Dev] [S Venkataraghavan] [Yajurvindra Singh] [David Constant]
England v India at The Oval: [Scorecard]

Karsan Ghavri [Part II]

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