September 22, 2003

Cakes, buses and pigeons galore

Wisden Cricinfo staff

All Today's Yesterdays - September 23 down the years

September 22 | September 24

1939
The birth of a dear old thing. Henry Blofeld, "Blowers" to his friends, is so well known for his exploits in the commentary box that it is often forgotten that he was an extremely talented cricketer, whose promising career at Cambridge University was ruined by a serious cycling accident. A devotee of fine wine and even finer cake, Blofeld personifies the eccentricity, charm and passion of the Test Match Special team. He once managed to hold up a series of international flights when he realised that a draft chapter of his book "The Packer Affair" had been mistaken for rubbish by cleaners in Colombo.

1979
An unseemly incident took place on the second day of the second Test between India and Australia in Bangalore. Having spent the day studying the maker's name of Dilip Vengsarkar and Gundappa Viswanath's blades, being no-balled 11 times in six overs was too much for Rodney Hogg, who bowled a beamer, hoofed down the stumps and stormed off the field. Only the swift action of his captain Kim Hughes, who tendered an immediate apology to the umpire and persuaded Hogg to express his contrition at the end of the day, prevented further recriminations.

1952
Sunil Gavaskar's right-hand man was born. For most of his 40 Tests between 1974 and 1984, Anshuman Gaekwad was the little master's opening partner. A dasher in his youth, the tall, bespectacled Gaekwad did a Boycott at Test level, cutting out the strokes and reinventing himself as a grinder. He blocked his way to what at the time was the slowest double-century in first-class cricket, against Pakistan at Jullundur in 1983-84, made in 652 minutes off 426 balls, but his bravest knock came on a terror track in Jamaica in 1975-76 - the match in which India's captain Bishan Bedi refused to bat as a protest against the intimidatory West Indian bowling - where he withstood a barrage of short stuff from Michael Holding to make 81 before he was struck on the head and ended up in hospital. His father Datta Gaekwad captained India on their tour of England in 1959.

1971
The birth of one of cricket's more abrasive characters. Moin Khan may not be on too many Christmas-card lists, but he is a very handy wicketkeeper-batsman with an average just shy of 30. A dangerous lower-order hitter and expert at wresting back lost initiatives, Moin snatched victory for Pakistan in the 1992 World Cup semi-final against New Zealand with an audacious assault on Chris Harris. His three Test hundreds came in an eight-match period between 1994 and 1996, but on becoming captain for the second time his form fell away, and after losing much of his dignity as England triumphed in the Karachi gloom, he lost the captaincy to Waqar Younis and his place to Rashid Latif ahead of the 2001 tour of England.

1855
The birth of the longest-serving editor of the Wisden Almanack, Sydney Pardon, who held the post between 1891 and 1925. A man with varied interests - The Times published his musings on racing, music and the theatre - it was in the course of Pardon's editorship that Wisden established its publication as one of the key dates in the cricket calendar.

1972
The Zimbabwean David Gower was born. The quintessence of the frustrating, languid left-hander, Alistair Campbell has never really done justice to his natural ability at Test level, but when on song he remains a wonderfully natural timer of the ball. He captained Zimbabwe between 1996 and 1999, but like so many others found it impossible to maintain his productivity with the bat, and after giving up the captaincy his form slowly returned. After a number of near-misses he finally made his first Test hundred in his 46th match, against India in Nagpur in 2000-01 and added another against West Indies at Bulawayo the following summer.

2000
A mammoth 188 not out from Guy Whittall could not stop Zimbabwe going down to an eight-wicket defeat in the second Test against New Zealand at Harare. Whittall batted for 472 minutes and faced 429 balls, but a lower-order collapse left New Zealand chasing 72 in 18 overs, and they swept home to clinch a 2-0 series victory. In his 29th Test as captain, it was Stephen Fleming's 12th win, surpassing Geoff Howarth's New Zealand record of 11.

1996
In the Sahara Cup decider in Toronto, Pakistan clinched a 3-2 victory over India with a comfortable 52-run win. Mushtaq Ahmed was their main man in a low-scoring game in which nobody reached 50 and only one of 19 wickets to fall went to a seamer. Mushtaq took out four of the top five and ended with 5 for 36 as India - for whom Sachin Tendulkar top-scored with a mere 23 - were brushed aside for 161.

Other birthdays
1942 Dave Renneberg (Australia)
1956 Tom Hogan (Australia)
1967 Prashant Vaidya (India)