April 21, 1945, Madras (now Chennai)
Right hand bat
Right arm offbreak
An offspinner who was both accurate and penetrative, Srinivas Venkatraghavan was a member of the famous spin quartet which teased and tormented batsmen the world over for well over a decade. He was a fighter to the core. Having to compete with EAS Prasanna for the offspinner's slot, Venkat was in an unenviable position. But he kept improving as a bowler, was a useful tailend batsman, an excellent close in fieldsman and a shrewd captain. The international career of Venkat, who remained very fit throughout his playing days, lasted from February 1965 to September 1983, one of the longest for an Indian player.
Not yet out of his teens when he made his Test debut, Venkat made an immediate impact by taking 21 wickets in four Tests against New Zealand, including 12 wickets in the final game at New Delhi. But once the spin quartet was formed, Venkat found himself more out of the side than in it. Now and then, however, he made his presence felt, like when he took 5 for 95 to star in India's victory over West Indies at Port of Spain in 1970-71. That 'India Rubber Year' remained Venkat's high watermark - he took 35 wickets in eight Tests, besides being the vice-captain of a victorious team. However he could command a regular place in the side only after the spin quartet had broken up in the late 70s. He led India in the first two World Cup competitions and also on the tour of England in 1979. By 1980 however he had lost his place in the side but, even as his career seemed over, he made a comeback in 1983 when he was picked for the tour of the West Indies. He retired from first-class cricket in 1985 after taking the second-biggest haul of wickets in the Ranji Trophy - 530.
In retirement, Venkat has been an administrator, a manager of the Indian side, before turning successfully to umpiring where he became one of the most respected officials in the game. He officiated in 73 Tests and 52 ODIs before retiring from umpiring in March 2004.
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