Indian players celebrate after defeating Australia by three wickets on the final day of the fourth cricket test match at the Gabba, Brisbane, Australia, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021. India won the four test series 2-1. (PTI)
Indian players celebrate after defeating Australia by three wickets on the final day of the fourth cricket test match at the Gabba, Brisbane, Australia, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021. India won the four test series 2-1. (PTI)

India vs Australia: From Mumbai to Chennai, families of unlikely heroes rejoice in victory

India vs Australia: Sundar is already a star in the IPL, but a Test debut is bigger than the league’s multi-crore deal and high-octane action.
By Rasesh Mandani
PUBLISHED ON JAN 20, 2021 07:46 AM IST

While the drama unfolded in Brisbane, back in Chennai, Washington Sundar’s family was drowning in a sea of phone calls. From well-wishers to journalists, everyone wanted to hear from them. The 21-year-old Sundar was one of the many unlikely heroes of an implausible win. It was also the off-spinning all-rounder’s Test debut, elevated straight from net-bowler status to match-winner, in a Test where he picked up four wickets, including the prize scalps of Steve Smith and David Warner and scored a sparkling 62 in his first foray with the bat at that level.

Sundar’s father Mani had dreamt that he would make his debut in this series.

Also read: A new team comes of age

“Perhaps because he is living his dream through Washington,” says sister Shailaja, a Tamil Nadu state cricketer herself. “My father was a Ranji trophy probable in the early 90’s. But there were many established players like WV Raman, Krish Srikkanth, L Sivaramakrishnan, so he didn’t get his chance. He told Washi, when he called to wish Dad on his birthday on Jan 4, that he would get to play a test on the tour.”

Sundar is already a star in the IPL, but a Test debut is bigger than the league’s multi-crore deal and high-octane action.

Also watching the action with pride was Chitra Ravichandran, R Ashwin’s mother, even though India’s frontline spinner was ruled out with an injury and replaced by Sundar for the final Test.

“I could feel in Ashwin’s voice when I would speak with him during the matches this time. I have never seen him so happy,” said Chitra. “He has always given everything, played with pain, planned meticulously. It’s very satisfying to see him achieve something that can really be called an outstanding result.”

Before the final Test, Ashwin had topped an outstanding series with the ball with a heroic stand with Hanuma Vihari, with both batsmen battling injuries, to deny a rampaging Australia a win in the third Test.

At Brisbane, another player thrown into the deep end was Shardul Thakur. For all practical purposes, this was his Test debut. In the only Test he played before this, he had bowled 10 balls before hobbling off the field. Like with Sundar, Thakur’s father Narendra had seen adulation for his cricketer son before in the IPL, but this was something else.

“It felt like you get real respect after Test victories. I saw all of Shardul’s runs as well as wickets,” he said.

Thakur’s family lives near Kelva beach, 111 km from Mumbai, where they are farmers. Growing up, Thakur made a 7-hour journey to Mumbai and back from this house to play matches in the city.

“I can’t wait to make home-made chicken and mutton for him,” said his mother Hansa.

“His diet permitting,” said Narendra.

Also read: Ajinkya’s Unbreakables or the myth of regeneration

Perhaps the family to whom this series victory means the most belongs to Mohammed Siraj, who made his debut in the victory in the second Test in Melbourne and found himself the leader of the bowling attack in the fourth Test.

Siraj’s father, who drove an auto-rickshaw all his life and pushed his son to pursue cricket, passed away while the white-ball leg of the tour was on. Siraj was given a chance to go back to India, but chose to stay on to honour his father’s dreams. He bowled the most overs for India through the series (131.2) and took the most wickets (13) and led the attack with his maiden five-wicket haul at the Gabba.

“I wish our father was there to see him do so well,” his brother Ismail had said during the match. Siraj had looked to the heavens after his fifer and spoken a few words. At the end of match, he was one of the band of unlikely heroes doing a victory lap with the tricolour.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON

Related Stories

India's Cheteshwar Pujara plays at the ball bowled by Australia's Pat Cummins.(AP)
India's Cheteshwar Pujara plays at the ball bowled by Australia's Pat Cummins.(AP)

Pujara v Cummins: Immoveable object vs unstoppable force

By Snehal Pradhan
PUBLISHED ON JAN 20, 2021 07:23 AM IST
India vs Australia: These are athletes who deal in volume, display excellence in bulk. If they were in theatre, they would be accused of hogging the stage. They do, because they are too good to be dislodged.
India celebrates winning on day five of the fourth test match between Australia and India at the Gabba in Brisbane, Australia, January 19, 2021.(via REUTERS)
India celebrates winning on day five of the fourth test match between Australia and India at the Gabba in Brisbane, Australia, January 19, 2021.(via REUTERS)

Ajinkya’s Unbreakables or the myth of regeneration

By Sharda Ugra
UPDATED ON JAN 20, 2021 07:16 AM IST
Ajinkya Rahane’s India took on regeneration as it is meant to be; a natural state, their only way of remaining sane on tour, writes Sharda Ugra.
Close
Ravichandran Ashwin(BCCI/Twitter)
Ravichandran Ashwin(BCCI/Twitter)

'I am a cricket lover who actually went on to become a cricketer': R Ashwin

UPDATED ON FEB 26, 2021 11:36 PM IST
After the completion of the third Test, Ashwin had a one-on-one session with fielding coach R Sridhar inside the dressing room. The veteran off-spinner revealed that he is a 'cricket lover’ who ‘accidentally became a cricketer’.
Close
The International Cricket Council (ICC) logo at the ICC headquarters in Dubai, October 31, 2010. REUTERS/Nikhil Monteiro/FIle Photo(REUTERS)
The International Cricket Council (ICC) logo at the ICC headquarters in Dubai, October 31, 2010. REUTERS/Nikhil Monteiro/FIle Photo(REUTERS)

ICC Board Meet: BCCI opposes ICC's EOI policy for global meets

PTI
PUBLISHED ON FEB 26, 2021 08:41 PM IST
During an ICC board meet on Thursday, the BCCI made it clear that they are completely against the idea of the global body issuing EOI and demanding money from any potential hosting nation.
Close
Women's cricket team - File photo(Getty Images)
Women's cricket team - File photo(Getty Images)

Women's cricket season to start with 50-over tournament from March 11

PTI
PUBLISHED ON FEB 26, 2021 08:34 PM IST
The tournament will be held across six venues -- Surat, Rajkot, Jaipur, Indore, Chennai and Bengaluru.
Close
File phot of Delhi’s Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium.(HT Archives)
File phot of Delhi’s Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium.(HT Archives)

Delhi to host Vijay Hazare knockouts from March 7

PTI
PUBLISHED ON FEB 26, 2021 08:20 PM IST
The matches will be organised at the Arun Jaitley Stadium and the Palam Ground.
Close
India's R Ashwin(AP)
India's R Ashwin(AP)

Accuracy added to variation, Ashwin's magic potion

PUBLISHED ON FEB 26, 2021 08:04 PM IST
India have taken an unassailable 2-1 lead against England in the four-Test series; Ashwin leads the list of wicket-takers with 24 scalps in three Tests at 15.7 and has entered the elite club of bowlers with 400 Test wickets.
Close
File image of Nasser Hussain(Getty Images)
File image of Nasser Hussain(Getty Images)

'It was not an 81 all out pitch, England batters looked like startled rabbits'

PUBLISHED ON FEB 26, 2021 07:41 PM IST
Agreeing that the pitch in Ahmedabad for the India vs England third Test match was a difficult one to bat on, former England captain Nasser Hussain said it was certainly not one in which you get bowled out for 81.
Close
Virat Kohli makes special appearance Hardik Pandya-Axar Patel interview(Video screengrab)
Virat Kohli makes special appearance Hardik Pandya-Axar Patel interview(Video screengrab)

Kohli makes cameo in Gujarati during Hardik Pandya-Axar Patel interview: WATCH

UPDATED ON FEB 26, 2021 10:18 PM IST
Indian captain Virat Kohli made a cameo during the conversation and applauded Axar’s performance in Gujarati.
Close
File image of a cricket bat and ball.(Getty Images)
File image of a cricket bat and ball.(Getty Images)

Tamil Nadu ends Jharkhand's winning streak with 67-run win

PTI
PUBLISHED ON FEB 26, 2021 06:49 PM IST
Jharkhand is on top of the standings with 12 points, followed by Punjab, Andhra, Tamil Nadu and Madhya Pradesh with eight points. Vidarbha lies in last place with 4 points.
Close
File photo of Indian all-rounder Krunal Pandya(Twitter)
File photo of Indian all-rounder Krunal Pandya(Twitter)

Baroda continue winning streak, beat Chhattisgarh

PTI
PUBLISHED ON FEB 26, 2021 06:41 PM IST
Opting to bat, Baroda rode on Pandya's hundred and Sheth's big-hitting to post 332/6 after a top-order failure, and then restricted the opposition to 319/9 to record their fourth win on the trot.
Close
Devdutt Padikkal(Twitter)
Devdutt Padikkal(Twitter)

Padikkal cracks second successive ton as Karnataka thrash Kerala

PTI
PUBLISHED ON FEB 26, 2021 06:30 PM IST
Chasing Kerala's 278, Karnataka cantered home with 27 balls to spare with the Royal Challengers Bangalore opener hitting 13 fours and two sixes in an unbeaten knock of 126 from 138 balls.
Close
Yusuf Pathan announced his retirement from criccket
Yusuf Pathan announced his retirement from criccket

ICC reacts after Yusuf Pathan announces retirement from cricket

PUBLISHED ON FEB 26, 2021 06:29 PM IST
  • “India’s 2007 T20 World Cup and 2011 ODI World Cup winner Yusuf Pathan announces his retirement from all forms of cricket,” tweeted ICC after Pathan made the announcement on Twitter.
Close
Yusuf Pathan: File Photo(Twitter)
Yusuf Pathan: File Photo(Twitter)

Yusuf Pathan's top 5 knocks that will always be cherished by cricket fans

PUBLISHED ON FEB 26, 2021 06:01 PM IST
As all-rounder Yusuf Pathan announced his retirement from all forms of cricket, let's have a look at his top five knocks.
Close
Yusuf Pathan poses with the 2011 ICC World Cup trophy(Twitter/ICC)
Yusuf Pathan poses with the 2011 ICC World Cup trophy(Twitter/ICC)

Yusuf Pathan, 2011 World Cup & 2007 WT20 winner, announces retirement

UPDATED ON FEB 26, 2021 06:54 PM IST
  • Pathan made a name for himself in the Indian Premier League while playing for franchises like Rajasthan Royals and Kolkata Knight Riders, before having a successful stint with the national team.
Close
Former Australian opener Matthew Hayden (L), Indian Cricket Team (R)(HT Collage)
Former Australian opener Matthew Hayden (L), Indian Cricket Team (R)(HT Collage)

'This is a mark of all the great teams in history': Matthew Hayden

PUBLISHED ON FEB 26, 2021 04:26 PM IST
In an interaction with the news agency PTI, Hayden asserted that the Indian side has the ability to win games both at home and overseas.
Close
IPL Trophy(IPL / Twitter)
IPL Trophy(IPL / Twitter)

BCCI looking at multiple cities to host IPL 2021: Report

ANI
UPDATED ON FEB 26, 2021 03:37 PM IST
While the BCCI is keen to take the most successful domestic league to as many fans as possible, the board is also clear that the bio-bubble restrictions will be made keeping the safety of the players in mind.
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP