CricInfo: I'll start by asking you about your debut for
India in an unofficial Test in Lahore. The match was interrupted by an
earthquake when you were batting. Do you remember it?
Vijay Hazare: That was Lord Tennyson's team and I was selected
for the first time to represent India [in 1937/38]. I do remember when
Amar Singh came to know that I was selected he was very happy. He knew
that this was the first time I was playing for India and helped me
out. In the first Test I scored 37 or something like that [he scored
31]. Of course I was not a very good batsman then you see. I was
batting and there was a little tremor, so everything stopped (laughs).
But it was only a few minutes. It was not very severe or anything like
that and we went on playing.
CI: Well Sir.. When Mr Clarrie Grimmett of Australia, whom you
considered as your guru, came to India for a coaching assignment, did
he give you some tips?
VH: Mr. Grimmett was out of the Australian team, so the Raja Saheb of
Jath called him here to learn his googly. Grimmett used to bowl to me
with a tennis ball and the senior Maharaja who was related to Raja
Saheb Jha was also on the tennis ground. He called me to meet
Grimmett. He showed me how to maintain a length and also taught me how
to defend. As he was a googly bowler and since I used to bowl some leg
breaks, he advised me to bowl the googly. He said I should keep on
bowling it and then I would get wickets.
CI: Well sir, during your time in domestic cricket there was a rivalry
between you and Vijay Merchant in the Ranji and Pentangular
tournaments. Did his presence motivate you while playing? Could you
recollect those memories?
VH: In our time, radio commentary was the only source of information
for the people as there was no TV. During the Pentangular match,
Merchant scored a century and in the next match I scored a century.
There was a commentator Talyarkhan. He used to say that Vijay Merchant
is the best batsman and second is Hazare. Then after some time he
would say 'I think Vijay Hazare is better then Vijay Merchant'. But
both Merchant and me were very good friends. In one match against
Hindus, the Rest were playing. Our team, the Rest was not very strong.
My brother Vivek Hazare gave me a stand and I tried to play from both
ends. The result was I scored 300 runs and Vivek scored only 21 runs.
After that Talyarkhan said Vijay Hazare is the best. We lost the match
but then the crowd rushed to the pavilion at the Brabourne Stadium,
broke some of the chairs, and they wanted me to come out. Merchant
took me out and asked me to tell them that we would be meeting again
in the Ranji Trophy next week. So I told the crowd, I'll be playing
the next match against Bombay at the Brabourne Stadium on such and
such a day. Please do come and watch.
CI: One of the outstanding feats in your career has been the century
in each innings against Australia in Adelaide. Can you tell us how was
it playing quality bowlers like Lindwall and Miller?
VH: That was against Bradman's team. We had to go to Darwin and the
people there used to tease us: 'you have to play Bradman, don't
forget'. Of course we couldn't say much. Then we came to Sydney by air
and when we landed, we met Don Bradman who was waiting to receive us.
It was wonderful. At Adelaide as luck would have it, I scored a
century in each innings against Bradman in a Test match. Miller bowled
two consecutive bumpers and I hit him for four. At that time we kept
our shots on the ground, and the ball went 'tack' into the railings.
In the first innings I got 116. Then when we batted again
unfortunately Mankad who went in first was out for zero and then our
captain Lala Amarnath also got out. So I was walking in immediately,
there was no time to even put on my pads (laughs). I went in and hit
two bumpers from Miller and he went to the captain Don Bradman and
asked for one more fielder on the leg side. Bradman said 'please go on
bowling'. Then he only came and bowled slow balls and finished the
over and was taken off. I made 145 in the second innings, so it was a
century in each innings. I was so pleased with my performance.
Everybody was very happy and Bradman came and shook hands with me for
CI: In that series you got Bradman out twice through your bowling.
Could you recollect some of the incidents?
VH: In the Sydney Test, Amarnath gave me the new ball. I was wondering
why since I never used to open the bowling. Of course when he gave me
the ball, I went ahead and bowled one cutter that clean bowled
Bradman's wicket. He scored only 13. I was so pleased. On the whole I
got Bradman out three times. On that tour, Bradman was the main
scorer. He also scored a century in each innings. That was the only
thing remaining for him and he did it against us.
CI: You also captained India to it's first Test victory against
England in 1951-52. Could you recollect those memories?
VH: Yes, I was appointed the captain and we were playing at the Chepauk
ground against England. Luckily we were in a good position and Ghulam
Ahmed got a few wickets. Vinoo Mankad was bowling only straight, you
see. I told Mankad, 'Ghulam Ahmed will get all the wickets, all the
credit will go to him, you are not turning the ball'. Then he started
spinning it and we went on to beat England.
CI: On the tour of England in 1952, there was that famous incident when India were 0/4 and you went in to bat and made a half century...
VH: Yes, I was playing for India at Headingley against England. You see,
unfortunately Trueman got two wickets for zero and I was walking in to face
him. I was fortunate - he took four, Trueman - to save India from a
difficult position. And fortunately in that match, Dattu Phadkar became a
good allrounder to help India along with me. [Trueman took three of the
four wickets, with Hazare coming in to face his hat trick ball].
CI: Can you tell us something about the record 577 run partnership
with Gul Mohammed in the Ranji Trophy match between Baroda and Holkar?
VH: Oh yes I do remember it. It was just in front of this house at the
polo ground, where we were playing. Gul Mahomed gave me a stand. He
scored 319 and I scored 288 not out. That was a world record which
CI: You must be watching TV these days? What do you think about Sachin's batting?
VH: Yes, I have seen Sachin bat on a number of occasions. I think he
is the best among the current players.
CI: You have watched Don Bradman bat. And now you have seen Sachin
play. Do you find any similarities between them?
VH: Certainly there is a little similarity, in the beginning they just
push and take runs, in that way they become well set, and then go for
the bowling. (Hazare's grandson Kunal interjects: "What he told me is:
When Bradman came to bat, he immediately starts taking singles and
twos, he doesn't allow the bowler to settle down on one line and
length and the bowler gets frustrated. That is what Sachin Tendulkar
also does. So he finds a bit of similarity there.")