A unique clash with plenty of history to back it

The game of cricket is unique in many ways

Anand Vasu
Anand Vasu


The game of cricket is unique in many ways. While most sports tend to be content having countries, counties, states and clubs play each other, cricket seems to want more. On Sunday, 29 April 2001 a team of left-handers will take on a team of right-handers at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai for the Timex Challenge. At exactly nine o' clock in the morning, with the Mumbai sun blazing down, Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly will walk out to toss, leading the right and left handers respectively. At precisely half past nine, a truly unique game of cricket will be under way.
In the past, there have been several games of this nature, the most famous probably the game between the "Non-smokers" and the "Smokers" in East Melbourne in 1886-87.
In the early twentieth century the Pentangular tournament was played in India. The teams taking part in that case were the Muslims, the Hindus, the Parsis and so on. The teams were divided on the basis of religion in that case.
In 1849, there was an encounter between a Single XI and a Married XI at the Mecca of cricket, Lord's. Part of the English domestic season back then, the game resulted in the team of bachelors winning!
In 1850 a game between the "Young" and the "Old" took place at Lord's in England. Anyone over 36 years of age was considered old! As is only to be expected, the Young XI won the game, be a margin of 11 runs.
In 1866, Canterbury was the setting for a game between "South of Thames" and "North of Thames." The men from the north took the game by two wickets.
But back to the present. With India not playing any cricket at the moment, the cricket crazy public in Mumbai will no doubt throng to the Wankhede to get a glimpse of their favourite son in full cry. With all the Indian stars in action, there will be no shortage of enthusiasm.
The classification of left handers however is a bit of a tricky one. The team includes, Sourav Ganguly, Sadagoppan Ramesh, Hrishikesh Kanitkar, Sairaj Bahutule, Vinod Kambli and Robin Singh, all of whom bat left handed but bowl right handed. Zaheer Khan bowls left handed and bats right handed. The only true left handers, people who bowl and bat left handed are Sunil Joshi, Yuvraj Singh, Hemang Badani and Dinesh Mongia.
For the right handers, Sachin Tendulkar leads the charge. For company he has Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman, Javagal Srinath, Ajit Agarkar, Paras Mhambrey, Amol Muzumdar, Pravin Amre, Sameer Dighe, Harbhajan Singh and Venkatesh Prasad.

Anand Vasu is a former associate editor at Cricinfo