When pace and bounce proved too hot to handle

When pace and bounce proved too hot to handle

It was around 1987 when a teen Javagal Srinath, yet to make his first-class debut, came to sort of prominence in Bangalore’s cricketing circles after he left former Karnataka opener B Raghunath bleeding on the pitch.

Raghunath was a prominent first-class batsman by then while Srinath was still an unknown commodity. It’s possible that Raghunath ‘underestimated’ the paceman from Mysore and went out to bat without a helmet, playing for State Bank of India against Mysore Gymkhana in Mangalore.

After some testing deliveries, Srinath slipped in a bouncer on a matting wicket and Raghunath was too late to react. The ball crashed straight into his forehead. He suffered a cut and started bleeding profusely. “We didn’t know much about Srinath then. We had no idea that he was so quick,” Raghunath recalled.

“As I was being taken off the field, I saw Kiri (Syed Kirmani) walking in with just his panama hat on. I screamed out at him ‘the boy is really quick, wear helmet.’ I am glad he heeded my advice because the next ball was even nastier and hit on his helmet with big impact. (After hearing Hughes’ death) I called up Kiri and told him that we should thank our lucky stars because things could have been as worse for us.

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