Vinod Kambli is no stranger to the English attack. He made the 1993 home series against England his own, first with an unbeaten century in his comeback one-day international in Jaipur and then with a swashbuckling double hundred at his home ground, the Wankhede in Mumbai, in only his third Test. With the second Test against India and England scheduled to start at the Wankhede today, the former India cricketer goes down memory lane with DNA and explains why India have a golden opportunity to brownwash their opponents like they did in 1993.
“I dedicate that double hundred to Mumbaikars. The reception I got when I stepped out to bat was unbelievable. I started hitting the ball well early on in my innings and my confidence grew with every stroke. The crowd was right behind me,” recalled Kambli.
He remembers being slightly edgy when he was on 199. “Pravin Amre who was batting at the other end told me to just get bat on ball and said he’ll run. But I had to play out a few deliveries before steering one to third man. It was a big relief,” Kambli said.
Kambli remains grateful to Sunil Gavaskar for his valuable advice during that knock. “It was a turning track and I was exposing my leg stump to the spinners. I was unbeaten with a century at the end of day’s play when Mr Gavaskar pointed out my mistake. It was very kind of him to do that,” he said.
The next day after he was dismissed for 224 – narrowly missing Gavaskar’s then record of highest individual score by an Indian (236) – Gavaskar gifted him his sunglasses. He scored another double hundred in the next Test following which Gavaskar gifted him his wristwatch. “If I am getting so many gifts from Gavaskar, why should I break his record,” Kambli had joked then.
On the current series, he said India have a great chance to rout the opposition, but insisted that skipper MS Dhoni must play three spinners. “He must get Harbhajan in. It will provide great variety like we had in 1993. Anil Kumble, Venkatapathy Raju and Rajesh Chauhan were a terrific trio in that series and bamboozled the batsmen,” he said.