not Players of the Month
The good, the bad and the ugly who didn't win
the CricInfo googler's Player of the Month in 1996:
Shivnarine Chanderpaul: It's a fair bet that he will put together a half-century every other innings, and his second innings effort in the Sydney Test was an exceptional cameo. But great batsmen are remembered for their hundreds and double hundreds, not for 50+ averages with a highest score of 82...
Mohammad Azharuddin (yet again): For another outstanding innings in the Kanpur Test. One day he will fire when it will actually assist the team...
Justin Langer: the highest score of the month (274* for WA vs South Australia), earning the chance to be humiliated by Curtly Ambrose in the Melbourne Test
Tom Moody: Think of Moody in December and most people think of his unlikely recall to the Australia one-day side. However he was also the West Australian captain responsible for declaring their innings closed with Justin Langer 26 runs short of an almost-certain triple ton.
Deepak Choughale: Remember this name. On December 24, twelve year-old Deepak scored 400 not out off 322 balls (two sixes, 72 fours) in Karnataka Under-13's innings of 589-4 in their two day game against Goa.
Bandula Ranjith: There may not be a need to remember this name, but Bandula took first-class cricket's best match figures in December with 15 for 98 (8 for 50 and 7 for 48) in the Sara Trophy game in Sri Lanka for Singha SC against Galle.
and the number 66: Plenty of attention for number 66 in December - Wasim Akram's jumper number in the Carlton & United One-Day Series, and India's entire second innings score against South Africa in the Durban Test.
November 1996:Ian Healy: They said he was all washed up, he couldn't bat, he was getting injured too frequently. They called up Adam Gilchrist as a replacement for him in the Titan Cup, and they said that Gilchrist's batting was so superior that it was enough for him to replace Healy in the Test side. Heals's reply? 250 runs for once out in his first three Test innings of the WI series; his usual customary effort behind the stumps; and a whack in the head from Brian Lara's bat (revenge for something??)
Javagal Srinath: One scintillating spell won a seemingly lost Test against South Africa at Ahmedabad.
Mohammad Azharuddin: one of the fastest centuries in Test history at Calcutta on November 29
Anil Kumble: Apart from his usual customary match-winning bowling efforts (eg the Titan Cup Final vs South Africa), he is starting to aspire as an all-rounder. Shared India's all-time 8th wicket record with Azhar (see above) but fell at 88. A century may just have been enough to give him November's googler's prize...
the groundsman at Rajkot Municipal Ground: if you want to know how to prepare a batsman's pitch, here's your man... the Mumbai v Saurashtra game from November 4-7 produced 1242 runs for the loss of just eight wickets over four days, and Wasim Jaffar scoring 314 runs without losing his wicket at all.
Vinod Kambli: for getting out for seven on the aforementioned Rajkot pitch in the aforementioned Mumbai - Saurashtra game.
and finally, Merv Hughes: What does one do when your country doesn't want you any more, your state doesn't want you anymore, and you have just had your thirty-fifth birthday? The Swervin One finished November by taking 6-20 for Footscray in dismissing Prahran for 43 all out in the Melbourne First Grade comp.
October 1996:Shahid Afridi: Selected for the Pakistan one-day side in Kenya as a bowling replacement for Mushtaq Ahmed, his debut innings with the bat was the fastest one-day international ton in history - 37 balls, wiping Jayasuriya's six-month old record off the face of the earth. All this at the age of either 16 or 19. Very confusing... at pre-school was he uncertain whether he was 3 or 6?
Saqlain Mushtaq: For his world record Test eighth wicket partnership with Wasim Akram - especially as he faced more balls than Wasim and scored less than one-third as many runs as him.
Mark Taylor: For scoring the Century They Said Could Never Be Made - his maiden ODI ton against India at Bangalore.
Mohammad Azharuddin: For his grace and professionalism in his calm acceptance of his LBW dismissal in the same Titan Cup fixture against Australia at Bangalore, which aroused so much popularity with the crowd that he had to do a victory lap of honour...
and the entire Goa Ranji Trophy side: For pulling off one of the all-time upsets, an innings victory against defending champions Karnataka, the first game they have won in eleven years of trying.
The opinions stated in this article are those of the editor, and the editor alone. No one else would come near them with a barge pole.
Date-stamped : 03 May1998 - 10:16