Leg spin legend Chandra recalls 'Mill Riff daal'

Leg spin legend Chandra recalls 'Mill Riff daal'

Yesteryears' Cricketer

It was a make or break test for the leg spinner. But he was always confident of his bowling abilities. “I was trying to stage a come back. I did something in the first test but the second test was rained off. The third test was vital. I took two wickets in the first innings. If I didn’t do well then I had to probably forget about getting back into the Indian cricket team,” said B S Chandrashekar.

He had taken 11 wickets in a county game against Nottinghamshire before the third test and hence he was full of confidence going into the final test.

“I always watch the wicket and bowl all varieties accordingly. The first England wicket that fell in the second innings was something that I did not have a direct role to play. J Jameson who was at the bowler’s end was run out when Brian Luckhurst hit one back. It touched my little finger and hit the wicket. Jameson was out of the crease and when I appealed, he was given out,” he recalled.

“John Edrich came to the crease and I knew his weakness. But I was thinking whether I should bowl a googly or a faster one. It was then Dilip Sardesai, who was fielding at slip position shouted, “Mill Riff daal.”

Mill Riff  was the name of a champion horse which had tremendous speed. I was still in two minds. I let go a faster one and my faster one was really fast and the wicket went cartwheeling.


The next batsman was Keith Fletcher and I bowled a googly to him and Eknath Solkar the best close-in fielder in the world who could take catches so confidently, caught him and he was also out for a duck. The rest is of course history,” said Chandra with a smile.

Chandrashekar was born in Mission hospital in Mysore and the memories of the city as a young boy is quite vague. But he fondly recalls that he used to live in Lakshmipuram near Jagadamba Shishu Vihara and attended Gopalswamy Shishu Vihara school near Nanjumalige Circle.

The only cricket he played those days was ‘compound cricket,’ and the balls could be made of anything that they could lay their hands on which could even be a guava fruit.  
What was going on in his mind when the crowd chanted his name? “You must remember that we always played for our country, State or zone and when I played I never took it easy. No doubt we needed the support of the crowd which spurred us to do better. But you must also know that the opponents plan for you as much as you plan for them. Some times you are lucky and a few times disappointed,” was his reaction.

Best captain - Nawab of Pataudi

The best captain he has played he says is undoubtedly Nawab of Pataudi who was a very attacking captain. “He knew my strength and he used my bowling capabilities well.”
Apart from Pataudi, V Subramaniam captain of the State cricket team and M L Jaisimha who captained the South Zone team were the best captains, he has played under.

“One person whom I am really beholden to is the late K N Yagnanarayan of City Cricketers who was the one who took me into the team and helped me with cricket.

“My father Bhagawat Subramaniam was always worried about me playing cricket. He told me that if I played test cricket he would never bother me again. It so happened that I was drafted into the national team within three months of playing club cricket. Since I got into the team, his next worry was that I should get a degree. So I used to carry books to all the matches and start reading. I used to concentrate on my studies as much as when I used to play the game,” said Chandra.

Ask him about his polio-affected arm around which myths have been woven and he says with a touch of irritation that it was all rubbish. He could never rotate his arm and he really had to work hard to get all those match winning wickets for the country.

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