Woorkeri Venkat Raman
May 23, 1965, Madras (now Chennai)
Left hand Bat
Slow Left arm Orthodox
Standing unusually tall at the crease, with a left-hander's penchant for off-side play, Woorkeri Raman was a batsman who should have ended with more generous returns than 11 Tests and 27 ODIs. He began as a left-arm spinner whose strength was his ability to out-think batsman rather than impart outrageous spin or deliver an indecipherable arm-ball; he picked up a wicket in his first over in Test cricket, albeit that of Courtney Walsh. But Raman proved to be a batsman of considerable skill. He hit a purple patch in 1988-89, scoring 313 for Tamil Nadu against Goa, and for good measure notched up two more double-centuries, ending the season with 1018 runs, surpassing Rusi Modi's 44-year-old record for most runs in a season.
As with many other batsmen of his time Raman was forced to open the innings in order to play for India, and did so with some success. His second-innings 83 on Test debut, batting at No. 3, was overshadowed by Narendra Hirwani's feat of picking up the best bowling figures of 16-136 on debut. Raman's international career never really got going, and when Vinod Kambli was favoured over him during England's tour of India in 1993 the writing was on the wall. Kambli cashed in, Raman's career remained a question of what might have been. The record will show, however, that he scored 96 - his highest Test score - against New Zealand at home in 1990, went to Sri Lanka in 1993 and did not take part in a single first-class game, and became the first Indian to score a hundred against the South Africans, in an ODI at Centurion Park in the Friendship Tour of 1992-93.
Raman, who has equipped himself with the highest qualifications to coach, is now the coach of the Tamil Nadu team and continues to be one of the shrewdest thinkers of the game about.
(Anand Vasu, 2007)
Batting & Fielding