No. 18 April 19, 2009

Siva gets Javed stumped

R Mohan
The World Championship final, 1985: Miandad was wily, LS even more so

Melbourne, 10 March 1985

Picking the young legspinner Laxman Sivaramakrishnan for the World Championship of Cricket was the most inspired gamble made by one of India's finest selection committees. They reckoned the large Australian grounds would suit Siva.

Right through the tournament the young man with the names of the three gods bowled superbly, never afraid to give the ball air - though it must be said that he was lucky to see a few dipping full-tosses hit to catchers in the deep, as batsmen failed to clear the 95-metre boundaries.

His spell in the final - billed disparagingly as "bus conductors versus tram drivers" - was awe-inspiring. Kapil Dev's early wickets had pushed Pakistan on to the back foot and the situation was just right for some spin to tease the two senior batsmen at the crease, Javed Miandad and Imran Khan, with. Good as those two were at picking spin, they just could not afford to lash out.

In the manner of a bowler who becomes more creative when he sees respect in the batsman's eyes, Siva tormented the pair. So shackled did the two soon feel that there was a mix-up that led to Imran being run out.

And then came this tempting, well-flighted legbreak on leg stump. Miandad could not resist stepping out. To his dismay he soon stood rooted as the ball dipped in to his feet and snapped, breaking across to the top of off stump to set up another flashy stumping for young Sadanand Viswanath. Shane Warne would have been proud to have bowled such a ball.