Batter ends 18-year career
Grit more than style was the hallmark of Yere Goud’s batting and resoluteness rather than flamboyance defined his personality. Those qualities came in for wide appreciation on Monday when the domestic stalwart, who forged a successful career with Railways and Karnataka for 18 long years, severed his ties with active cricket.
Glowing words, a privilege accorded to most of the retiring sportspersons, were reserved for Goud as well, but two tributes stood out from the rest. Former India pacer and his one-time team-mate Javagal Srinath rated him the “Rahul Dravid of Railways” while former Railways coach Vinod Sharma termed Goud “our own Wall.” It might have been a massively satisfying moment for him, getting compared to a modern day great by people who know him close enough.
“I have made this decision after playing 18 years of passionate cricket. The highpoint of my career is winning seven premier first-class championships -- two Ranji Trophies, one Ranji one-day, three Irani Cups and one Duleep Trophy. I enjoyed playing this great game, and will miss taking guard once again,” Goud said.
Goud was one of the cricketers who flocked Bangalore from regional centre, Raichur, searching for better cricketing fortunes in the early 90s, and there were quite a few of his type -- Srinath, Sunil Joshi, Avinash Vaidya, who all became integral part of the State’s cricketing landscape.
“It was quite tough for moffussil boys to come and make mark here at that time, and Yere did just that. I was his captain when Yere made his debut against Hyderabad at Bijapur, and he went on to play 134 matches, though unfortunately only 17 for us, and became a mainstay for Railways, Central Zone and South Zone in the years to come,” said Anil Kumble, former India skipper and now the KSCA president.
Here Kumble was indicating Goud’s determination to succeed in his chosen field. Perhaps, toughness was ingrained into his batting and personality from the hardships he had to undergo in his budding days. But to his credit, that huskienss never came out in improper ways on or off the field. Sharma, who flew in from Delhi just for the occasion, gave an insight into Goud’s character. “I never heard him talking unnecessary stuff, only his bat talked. He was a wonderful person in the dressing room; a quiet fighter, and he will bring Railways to the top given any situation,” he said.
In that sense, Goud was not your quintessential domestic cricketer, comfortable largely on flat pitches. The challenge of playing in tough tracks spurred the competitor in him, and Sharma offered couple of examples. “Once against New Zealand ‘A’ team comprising Shane Bond and Jacob Oram, he scored a hundred on a green top. He, perhaps, was one of the best players on under-prepared pitches, and his hundred against Uttar Pradesh on such wicket in the 2002-03 season was quite unforgettable,” he said.
Left-arm spinner Murali Kartik, a long-time colleague of Goud in the Railways team, too underscored Goud’s proficiency on difficult pitches. “He’s a combination of VVS Laxman and Dravid, nice bloke and solid batsman. Once he batted the whole day and saved a game for us against Railways on an absolute green top. Then his hundred against the West Indies against a handy attack, comprising Cameron Cuffy, Mervyn Dillon, and Jermaine Lawson too was memorable,” Kartik said.
Retirement, however, is not an end for Goud as he will explore options in coaching and umpiring in near future. He has all the qualities to be a success there as well.