October 13, 1975, Madras (now Chennai), Tamil Nadu
Left hand bat
Right arm offbreak
Sadagoppan Ramesh made the grade after coming through the ranks. A string of notable performances with the India A team, culminating in a brilliant century against West Indies A pitch forked him into the national senior side. India A coach K Srikkanth strongly advocated his inclusion and the selectors, searching around for batsmen, decided to give the left-hand opener from Tamil Nadu the big break in his hometown of Chennai against Pakistan in 1999. Displaying two qualities that should be uppermost in any opening batsman - courage and big match temperament - Ramesh was an instant success. He played the pace of Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and Shoaib Akthar and the spin of Saqlain Mushtaq and Mushtaq Ahmed with equal felicity, ran up a series of consistent scores including a couple of hundreds and suddenly India had unearthed a world class opening batsman.
But even as he ran up a Test average of 50 plus in his first half-a-dozen Tests, there were the cynics who pointed out to his faulty footwork and awry technique. Then there were the detractors who said he would never get runs away from the subcontinent and he would come up a cropper against the Australian pace bowlers on the faster and bouncier pitches. Taking up the challenge, Ramesh proved that he could get runs in any conditions and while he did not exactly set the Yarra river on fire, he did enough to prove his detractors wrong. But he struggled to convert good starts into big scores, and after a reasonable series in Sri Lanka in 2001-02, where he passed 30 five times in six innings but made only one fifty, he was discarded.
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