Bradman, an Indian bowler and a Rs 7cr question
NEW DELHI: A non-regular bowler shrewdly introduced to the attack by India’s captain Lala Amarnath to stop Aussie ace Donald Bradman from reaching his 100th first-class century was at the centre of a Rs 7 crore question in a game show on Friday.
The question was: “Who was the Indian bowler off whom Australian legend Don Bradman got a single to reach his 100th first class century?” The choices were (a) Baqa Jilani (b) C Rangachari (c) G Kishenchand (d) Kanwar Rai Singh.
Sanoj Raj from Jehanabad, Bihar, did not know the answer — G Kishenchand — and preferred to walk away with what he had earned till then, Rs 1 crore, in KBC 2019, hosted by Amitabh Bachchan.
But the little-known back story behind Amarnath’s out-of-the-box move is even more fascinating. Don’s 100th first-class century came on Nov 15, 1947 at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
It was not a Test match but a game played between an Australian XI and the Indians, on their first away tour after the country had gained independence. Yet there was tremendous expectation in the public. In his autobiography, ‘Farewell to Cricket’, Bradman recounted, “Even in the most exciting Test Match I can never remember a more emotional crowd, not a more electric atmosphere.”
In a biography of his father, Lala Amarnath: Life and Times, Rajender Amarnath wrote, “Thousands poured into the ground to see Bradman become the first Australian to reach the milestone of a hundred first-class hundreds. The Indians batted first on a good track…the fall of each wicket was loudly cheered, as the large crowd had come to see their hero perform a historical feat.”
“Finally with my total at 99, Amarnath called up Kishenchand who was fielding on the boundary. He had not bowled before and I had no idea what type of bowler he was. It was a shrewd move, as one could have easily been deceived, but I treated him with the greatest respect until eventually came a single to mid-on and the great moment had arrived,” recalled Bradman.
It was the only over Kishenchand bowled in the game. Former PTI editor (sports) K Jagannadha Rao recalls asking Lala Amarnath why he had opted for Kishenchand. Lala quipped, “When I didn’t know what he bowls, how would have Bradman known what to expect?”