Late Lala Amarnath’s son Mohinder tells DNA that his father enjoyed watching Rahul Dravid in action
What do you remember of your father? Any memories on the way he played his cricket?
I was only two when he played his last Test. He continued playing first class cricket for a long time, but I don’t have too many memories of his playing days. I did hear a lot of stories about him, and from him as well.
So, what are those stories like?
He used to discuss a lot of cricketing issues with me and my brothers Surinder and Rajinder. We grew up hearing these stories about his century against Douglas Jardine’s England. We knew very early that he was a dominating batsman and a popular cricketer. We were not fortunate enough to watch him play but we were lucky to have got lessons from him about the techniques and methods of the game. I think his cricket was very simple and he was quite good at playing the short bowling.
So you learnt playing those trademark hook shots from your father?
Yes. All we brothers were good against short bowling. Surinder was very good in fact. Right from our childhood, he encouraged us to play those hook shots. We were told that he was effortless in dealing with the short balls.
Do you think he should have played more than mere 24 Tests?
Yes. He was quite an open hearted man who never hesitated to speak his mind. He may have rubbed important people and the maharajas on the wrong side. Probably, he suffered because of that. He also lost a lot of his career because of the war. But I know Don Bradman rated him very highly. Cricket was a religion for him. He would have enjoyed playing today, Twenty20 included.
Your father’s fight with Vizzy is a stuff of the legend. He had your father sent back from England but years later wanted him made skipper.
I never met that gentleman. I understand he was not a great cricketer but a scion of a royal family. There were some issues between them. There is nothing great about the suggestion that my father should be made skipper. He anyway deserved to lead the country. He had the talent, calibre, knowledge and qualification to lead India.
Did you ever have to face problems because of your father’s outspokenness?
I did suffer because of the Amarnath name. There is no doubt about it. But I never stopped trying and fought back. I learnt that you need to fight if you want to prove others wrong
What way did you suffer?
I suffered in a way that they had different rules for me. That’s all. I’ve no grudges now. Whatever I’ve done or achieved, I’m satisfied. That is meant to be like that only.
Do you think your father was the first rebel in Indian cricket?
He was independent in his thinking. He never changed his ways. Even while commentating, he would call spade a spade. Even as the chairman of selectors, he would speak his mind.
Who was his favourite cricketer among his three sons?
He did not have any favourites. He treated us all equally. He would not differentiate between us.
Who was his favourite cricketer?
Among the current cricketers, he was very fond of Rahul Dravid. Whenever Rahul came to bat, my father would sit and watch. He really admired Rahul for his technique, style and focus.