KBC’s Rs 7-crore question brings alive Bradman’s magic moment

The Tribune

The Tribune

Author 2019-09-14 12:42:00

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Vikramdeep Johal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 14

Kaun Banega Crorepati (KBC), a popular TV quiz show hosted by megastar Amitabh Bachchan, got its first ‘crorepati’ of Season 11 on Friday night when Sanoj Raj, an IAS aspirant from Bihar, reached the magic figure. Raj, however, failed to scale the Rs 7-crore summit and wisely decided to quit.

The jackpot question, which probably stumped even the majority of die-hard cricket lovers, was: “Off whose bowling did Donald Bradman take a single to complete his 100th century in first-class cricket?” The options were (a) Baqa Jilani; (b) Commandur Rangachari; (c) Gogumal Kishenchand; (d) Kanwar Rai Singh.

The right answer was Kishenchand, a little-known batsman who played five Tests for India, including four against Australia in 1947-48.

Bradman accomplished a ton of tons while leading an Australian XI against the touring Indians at Sydney in November 1947.

The legendary cricketer recalled the incident in his classic autobiography Farewell to Cricket: “Finally, with my total on 99, (Lala) 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 so easily have been deceived, but I treated him with the greatest respect until eventually came a single to mid-on and the great moment had arrived. I think of all my experiences in cricket that was the most exhilarating moment on the field. The huge crowd gave me a reception which was moving in its spontaneous warmth.”

Weirdly, this episode became the claim to fame for Kishenchand, an occasional leg-break bowler. Thanks to his batting heroics (a fifty in each innings), the Indians won the warm-up match by 47 runs – a rare victory on an arduous tour (Australia clinched the five-Test series 4-0).

Kishenchand, who served as a member of the Maharaja of Baroda’s staff and later worked for a chemical company, had the dubious distinction of getting out for a duck in each of his five Tests. For the record, the pint-sized player did not bowl a single delivery in Test cricket, even as he scored 89 runs at a paltry average of 8.90. He played his last Test against Pakistan at Lucknow in 1952. During his first-class career, he scored 7,187 runs, including 15 hundreds, and took 37 wickets in 127 matches.

About nine months after the ecstasy came the agony for Bradman. In his 52nd and final Test, played at the Oval in August 1948, he was clean-bowled for a duck by England’s leg-break bowler Eric Hollies. Thus, the Don unfortunately fell just four runs short of achieving the unheard-of batting average of 100.

Still, no Test batsman has ever come anywhere near his gargantuan figure of 99.94, even as another Aussie run machine, Steve Smith, is averaging a phenomenal 64.81 after 67 Tests.

Back in 2005, another cricket ‘googly’ had featured as the Rs 1-crore question on KBC (Season 2), but the clueless contestant did not hazard a guess. The question was about Christina Willes, the woman who ‘invented’ over-arm bowling in the early years of the 19th century. Christina was the sister of Kent cricketer John Willes. A keen player herself, she used to help him in his practice near their house in Canterbury. Finding it hard to bowl under-arm (which was the norm in those days) due to her voluminous skirt, she started throwing the ball round-arm. The rest, as they say, is history.

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