Laxman Sivaramakrishnan

Last laughs

Beware the leggie scorned

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This one is from India's 1982-83 tour of the West Indies. We were in Barbados, on the third leg of the tour, by which time I had gotten friendly with Desmond Haynes and Malcolm Marshall, both local boys. Desmond took it upon himself to take me around the place in the evenings and we had some great times at his house as well.

Dessy took part in the four-day game that I played in for a place in the side for the fourth Test. India batted first. When I went in, there was this legspinner called George Linton on. I tried to hit him out of the ground but ended up getting caught at gully. Dessy broke out into a loud laugh.

Later that evening, he went up to Hanumant Singh and said, "Manager, I want to take the kid out." Hanumant okayed it, and Desmond took me out to an area called Haynesville. He told me the place was named after him but I didn't know whether to believe him or not.

We went into one of the clubs and he introduced me to his friends: "Meet this young man. He's an Indian legspinner, and he can't even play a Barbadian legspinner." They all laughed and laughed and I was quite embarrassed.

The next day Dessy came out to bat and I got him out clean bowled. He was walking back to the pavilion when I ran up to him and needled him, saying, "Let's go back to that club tonight." Dessy's response was something along the lines of, "I don't want to see your face for the rest of the tour." He remained very reserved after that ... till he got a hundred in the Antigua Test, which happened to be my debut. He came over and asked me whether I was ready for a trip back to Barbados.

As told to Rahul Bhattacharya. This article was first published in Wisden Asia Cricket magazine