Eknath Solkar

'Boycs was big but I was lager'

A pint to get Geoffrey out? You're on

Comments: 9 | Text size: A | A
Eknath Solkar bowls against Somerset, Somerset v Indians, 3rd day, Taunton, May 3, 1974
Eknath Solkar became Geoffrey Boycott's nemesis in the summer of '74 © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: Geoff Boycott | Eknath Solkar
Series/Tournaments: India in England Test Series
Teams: India

Geoffrey Boycott never rated me highly as a cricketer. On the England tour of 1974 we were playing Yorkshire at Bradford in what was a routine warm-up match for us and a selection trial for them. I was just about to begin my spell when Ashok Mankad came up to me and said: "This is my Bhagwaan [God] that you are bowling to. If you can beat his bat, I'll buy you a pint of lager tonight."

I took up the challenge. In my second over I got one to swerve away from him and as he pushed forward defensively, the ball went past the outside edge. I ran up to Ashok and asked him whether he would buy me another one if I now got him out. He agreed. In my next over I bowled a ball - and I still don't know how I managed it - that started so wide outside off stump that he lost interest and shouldered arms. It came back sharply at the last moment to hit him right in front of middle stump and he was out lbw. That was my second lager for the night.

The following week, we played against MCC at Lord's, and in each innings the scorecard read: Boycott c Gavaskar b Solkar. By the time the Tests started, the English media had made a big issue of Boycott v Solkar and it affected him mentally, perhaps.

In the second innings of the first Test at Old Trafford, I was fielding at forward short leg when he tried to flick Abid Ali away. I stopped the ball instinctively and challenged him to run, wagging my finger at him as I spoke. He was taken aback. In the very next over, I got him to edge one and Farokh Engineer took a wonderful diving catch, almost at first slip. I now had him four times in five innings and he didn't play the rest of the series. In fact, his next Test match was to come three years later.

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

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Comments: 9 
Posted by Truemans_Ghost on (November 14, 2010, 20:23 GMT)

I do love tales like this- they are part of the reason you have to love cricket. I'd love to hear Sir Geoff's side of the story- his adorably skewed memory will turn a disaster into a triumph.

Posted by miscpm on (November 14, 2010, 19:28 GMT)

Is that Solkar's photo? Doesn't look like it.

Posted by   on (November 14, 2010, 18:33 GMT)

Boycott is hilarious ( not a joke), he talks against anybody or team he doesn't like regardless of good or bad performance. He says, Bangladesh won 4-0 against NZ in home turf, no appreciation. He always talks like "grapes are sour"

Posted by smalishah84 on (November 14, 2010, 18:03 GMT)

A very interesting piece indeed.

Posted by   on (November 14, 2010, 15:19 GMT)

Great Articcle...Nice to know these things and only Cricinfo can manage it!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by VipulPatki on (November 14, 2010, 11:59 GMT)

So the Tendulkar-Cronje tussle has a precendent! I had always known Solkar to be a super fielder than a Goliath-devouring David.

Posted by   on (November 14, 2010, 11:32 GMT)

I remember this series quite well, we didn't have TV in Sri Lanka at the time, we weren't a test playing nation but we followed the test scene closely. I followed the series when England visited India listening to the commentary on the shortwave radio. If I remember right Solkar was a brilliant fielder at silly mid on, and then there was Chnadraskhar, Bedi and Venkat.

Brilliant stuff

Posted by Vilander on (November 14, 2010, 6:52 GMT)

He was probably too soft for you :)

Posted by   on (November 14, 2010, 6:34 GMT)

preety amazing, considering Solkar took 18wicekts in his career at almost 6o runs/wicket. To have a(then) superstar like Boycott succumb to Solkar is almost hilarous. As a 7 years old kid, I grew up thinking of Solkar as a large than life player who could bowl and get Boycott out, bat, due to his rescue acts in West Indies and of course, takes incredible catches. Durani was the Sehwag, who could hit sizes at will, Pataudi, who batted wuth one eye, Wadekar, the greatsest captain, Gavaskar and Vishwanat - the little masters, Engineer - the Adam gilchrist if yester years, Abid Ali the dynamic allrounder and the best spinners the world has ever seen. Amazing how a 7 years old mind can be brainwashed.

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