Sagi Lakshmi Venkatapathy Raju
July 09, 1969, Alamuru, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh
Also Known As
Right hand bat
Slow left arm orthodox
Of average height and slightly built, Venkatpathy Raju has spent almost his entire career in and out of the Indian team. True to his nickname `Muscles', he is a lion hearted bowler, always in the thick of battle. Never afraid to give the ball flight, he entices the best of batsmen to commit mistakes. But there have been times when thanks to his attacking bowling approach, he has conceded far too many runs and this has not gone down well with conservative Indian selectors.
Raju came into prominence in the late 80s as a successor to Maninder Singh. A finger spinner in the classical mould, he settled down well into the side and bowled India to victory in the one-off Test against Sri Lanka in 1990-91. Along with Rajesh Chauhan and Anil Kumble, he seemed to have formed a new spin trio in the early nineties. But in the mid and late 90s, his career saw more downs than ups. However Raju always remained in contention thanks to his excellent performances around the domestic circuit. There is, however, no doubt as to which pitches are suited best to his bowling style - he has picked up 70 wickets at home in 15 Tests as compared to 22 dismissals in 12 Tests on foreign soil. Raju was probably at his best during the 1994-95 series against the West Indies, when in three Tests, he claimed 20 wickets. However since then, his appearances have been sporadic and he was a forgotten man after the 1997-98 series against Australia. Around the domestic circuit however Raju continued to be Hyderabad's bowling mainstay and played a stellar role in the side making the final in the 1999-2000 Ranji Trophy season, with a bag of 52 wickets. He finally retired from first-class cricket in December 2004.
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