August 04, 1968, Mannar, Allepey (now Alappuzha), Kerala
Right hand bat
Right arm fast medium
Abey Kuruvilla was unfortunate to have been selected several seasons too late to the national team. Possibly the tallest player to play for India at 6'6", Kuruvilla, in spite of his well endowed physique, was not an express bowler. Thriving on his ability to swing the ball and later developing variations such as a well disguised slower delivery, he had his grounding under the tutelage of Frank Tyson as part of the BCA-Mafatlal Bowling Scheme. Kuruvilla took 35 wickets in his first full season for Bombay in 1991-92 and although widely expected to make the tour of South Africa in 1992-93, was overlooked.
After trying out a whole flotilla of new ball bowlers without success in the
following years, the selectors finally gave the gangling Mumbaikar a break on the 1996-97 West Indies tour. Kuruvilla emerged as a key figure in the Indian attack and a haul of 5 for 68 in the second innings of the third Test at Bridgetown set up a winning position for India, but the batsmen contrived to throw it away. He played five more Tests against Sri Lanka at home and away in the following season where he did creditably considering the flat shirtfronts on offer but, surprisingly, he was never considered again. Soft spoken and self effacing, Kuruvilla had no regrets for the shabby treatment meted out to him.
"At least I played for a year. There are so many good cricketers who don't get to play even one game for India. I can't complain on that count", was his classic refrain in humility. He retired from first class cricket after the 1999-2000 Ranji Trophy final against Hyderabad. He served in various selection panels, heading the all-India junior selection committee in 2011-12. In 2012, he was named Mumbai's chief selector.
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