Sadagopan Ramesh is still a fresh memory in the head of cricket fans of 90s. The stylish left hander used to play with so much ease and effort, sometimes you wonder how he is doing it.
Specially his flick shots were treat to the eyes. But how come a promising opening batsman who debuted in the famous 2001 Chennai test where Sachin scored hundred had only 19 tests to his name.
Ramesh debuted against Pakistan in Chennai, 2001. Though he was a lower middle batsman, but in a under 22 game, he was made to open and he scored 190, after that he was seen as an opening batsman.
Cometh the day, when Ramesh had to face the best bowling attack of that time. Wasim, Waqar, Shoaib, Saqlain, Mushtaq, it was like a dream bowling attack for the captain.
Pakistan batted first and managed 238 runs and Ramesh didn’t knew he has to face the brutual attack on the very first day. He played brilliantly and remained not out on 30. When he went to the dressing room, Azhar gave him a pat on his back saying “he has never seen anyone batted so easily and confidently against Wasim”.
Ramesh went on to score 43 runs in 41 balls in his debut innings. Not a bad start at all.
In the second test, where Anil Kumble took 10 wickets, no body remembered Ramesh who scored 60 and 96 runs in the second innings after dismissing to a full toss. He cried in the dressing room on not reaching to 100 but was happy that Anil got to 10 wickets.
In the last series he played against Srilanka, he got to 30s in all the 5 innings but only converted one to a 50+ score. He said he didn’t have that kind of support that he will be given a long rope and had it been the case, he would have converted those 30s, 40s more frequently into 100s or big scores.
After the Srilanka series, he was dropped, team was looking to try new opening pair of Aakash Chopra and Virender Sehwag.
His last hope perished when for the Pakistan tour, Yuvraj Singh was selected as backup opener and he knew its the time to let go.
He recollected one of his meeting with Steve Waugh. Steve Waugh told him a very important thing: “When you are going through a tough time, never be around people who tell you negative things like, ‘You can’t make it’, ‘They are going to destroy you’, ‘Whatever you perform, they are going to sideline you.’ If you find those kinds of people, stay away from them. Be with people who talk positive things. Life is larger than this. So what [if you are not picked]? You have got nice things, you have a nice family. There is so much to look to on the other side.”
So that’s what Ramesh career looked like, 37 innings, 37 average with 2 100s and 8 50s and lot of 30s and 40s. He played 24 ODIs too, getting a half century for 6 times in limted format.
Well he certainly had the hand-eye coordination and looked very pleasing to the eyes but critics of him said he lacked in footwork. But the technique is overrated now and cricket is evolving and no longer you see someone getting a good foot forward to play a drive. Most of the time its hand, eye coordination and your mental toughness.
How you evolve from a domestic player to a international player. How you pace your innings, that matters. But Ramesh finally accepted his fate and retired in 2008.
The Tamilnadu born had a very contrasting life after his cricket career. He was bough by Chennai Super Kings for whopping 8.7 crores but he refused to make a career in movies.
He has acted in Santosh Subramaniam, Potta Potti and Madha Raja.