Navjot Singh Sidhu Birthday Special: 5 Best Innings Played By The Cricketer-Turned-Politician
Cricketer turned politician Navjot Singh Sidhu turns 56 on Sunday. Before entering the field of politics, Sidhu was a swashbuckling batsman who served Indian cricket for over a decade. Just Like his personality, the Punjab-born cricketer was a flamboyant batsman who liked to attack the bowlers from the outset. His aggressive style of play and ability to clear the fence earned him the nickname 'Sixer Sidhu'. Sidhu played as a top-order batsman for most of his career and has an impressive international record too. The latter liked to face the new ball and gave great starts to the team on many occasions. In his illustrious career, Sidhu played many magnificent innings and below we will be focusing on five such knocks.
Sidhu was one of those cricketers who made their ODI debut in a World Cup clash. In the 1987 edition of the gala tournament, the latter played his match and scored a scintillating half-century on debut. In addition, Sidhu is the only batsman to have mustered consecutive fifties in his first four ODI innings. In total, the batsman has 4413 runs in 136 ODIs. The stalwart has also mustered 3202 runs in 51 Tests. Talking about his blitz with the bat, let's look at five of the best innings played by Navjot Singh Sidhu.
73 Against Australia in Chennai
In India's first match of the 1987 World Cup, Sidhu made his ODI debut and proved his mettle immediately. Chasing a target of 271 runs, the right-handed batsman came to bat at number three and attacked the bowlers from the word go. Sidhu plundered five massive sixes in his innings and brought up a blistering half-century. However, India's middle-order tumbled after Sidhu's departure and the Men in Blue lost the match by just one run.
134* Against England in Gwalior
The sixth ODI of England's 1993 Tour of India saw a Sidhu Special where the batsman played a well-compiled and guided his team over the line. While chasing 257, India lost two early wickets and the onus was on Sidhu and captain Mohammad Azharuddin. The duo displayed great temperament and brought the innings back on track. However, the skipper was dismissed on 74 but Sidhu didn't lose his focus. The opener went on to score an unbeaten 134 and India clinched the match by three wickets.
101 Against Pakistan in Sharjah
Another Sidhu's masterclass came against Pakistan in the Pepsi Sharjah Cup 1996. In the high-voltage encounter against the arch-rivals, Opener Vikram Rathour was dismissed cheaply and Sidhu came into bat at number three. The lad joined forces with Sachin Tendulkar and the pair demolished the opposition bowlers to all the parts of the ground. Sidhu stood strong against the likes of Waqar Younis and Saqlain Mushtaq and registered a splendid century. As a result, India piled up 305 in the first innings and later won the match by 28 runs.
116 Against New Zealand in Bengaluru
In the first Tests of New Zealand's 1988-89 Tour of India, Sidhu made a comeback in the Test side after five years and played a gem of an innings. Batting first, India lost both the openers early and Sidhu came in to bat at number three. The youngster brilliantly tackled the likes of Sir Richard Hadlee and John Bracewell and guided the hosts to 384 in the first innings. The effort proved to be fruitful as India registered a 172-run victory and took a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.
201 Against West Indies in Port of Spain
Scoring a double-ton against the duo of Courtney Walsh and Curtly Ambrose in their own den was not a cakewalk. However, Sidhu did that in the second Test of India's 1997 Tour of India. After receiving 296 in the first innings, India came to bat and lost opener VVS Laxman for a duck. However, Sidhu kept his nerve and didn't put a foot wrong. Sidhu paced his innings to perfection and brought up a gritty double-ton. India scored 436 in their first innings but the match resulted in a draw.
The batsman brought curtains to his career in December 1999. Post-retirement, Sidhu decided to play his second innings in politics and is a renowned politician. Along with that, Sidhu is also known for his humour and has entertained the Indian audience with his great punches and one-liners in the commentary box and reality shows.