Home > Features > Moments in history >

Gursharan Singh: Stalwart of Indian domestic circuit who has unique fielding record to his credit

Gursharan Singh © AFP
Gursharan Singh © AFP

Gursharan Singh, born on March 8, 1963, was a great servant of Punjab team in the Indian domestic circuit. However, his international career was restricted to playing only one Test and a One-Day International (ODI). Gursharan also has a unique fielding record to his credit. Bharath Ramaraj looks back at a batsman who arguably should have been given a longer rope by the Indian selectors.

In 1981-82 when England toured India and Sri Lanka, they played a warm-up game at Pune against India Under-22. With the likes of Bob Willis, Ian Botham and Graham Dilley in their ranks, England XI were expected to stroll to a victory against the Under-22 team. But one cricketer by the name of Gursharan Singh stood tall like a beacon and essayed a fabulous century. For the next decade or so, he was one of the stalwarts of domestic cricket, especially while playing for the Punjab setup.

The unassuming Gursharan’s story was that of what might have been. He was a prolific run-getter in the domestic circuit, but just played one ODI and one Test during India’s tour of New Zealand in 1990. After that tour, he was yet again confined to wade through the lonely and long road of First-Class cricket for the rest of his career.

In fact by the time he was selected for the New Zealand tour, Gursharan had touched noteworthy crusts in First-Class cricket. His innings of 298 not out against West Bengal in the 1988-89 Ranji Trophy quarter-final at Eden Gardens, Kolkata, is still talked about fondly by the cricket cognoscenti. Bengal amassed a monstrous score of 594 on the board. Punjab were left with no other option but to look for an innings lead.

Unfortunately, both Ashish Kapoor and the promising Vikram Rathour were sent packing back to the pavilion cheaply. Gursharan, though, stood there like an Atlas. He found an able partner in Krishnan Mohan, who himself compiled a century. As Punjab came even closer to taking a first innings lead, the opposition camp must certainly have got nervous.  However, Mohan’s dismissal brought a sigh of relief in the Bengal camp.

Gursharan though, continued to rotate the strike with needlepoint precision and stitched valuable partnerships with tail-enders. Finally, they fell short by a mere 43 runs with Gursharan running out of partners. Gursharan must have gone through a gamut of emotions. He hit the headlines and filled columns in newspapers for his masterful innings, but his team couldn’t progress further in the tournament.

In 1988-89, he averaged a Bradmanesque 94.28 with his mystical willow. He followed it up by being consistent during the next domestic season too, which forced the Indian selectors to finally recognise his sheer willpower to succeed. Gursharan was picked up in India’s squad to play in New Zealand. It has to be remembered that in 1983-84 at Ahmedabad against the  all-conquering West Indies, Gursharan created history by taking most catches as a substitute fielder. He took four catches at short-leg.

Gursharan made his Test debut at Eden Park, Auckland. In a game that is even now remembered for New Zealand wicketkeeper Ian Smith clambering into Atul Wassan’s bowling, Gursharan came into bat at No 7 He compiled 18 runs before was caught and bowled by Shane Thomson. Now, his destiny was such that it was the only time he got a chance to test his skills in the longest format of the game. In the Rothmans ODI tri-series that was played after the Test series, he played in one game against Australia and that was sadly the end of his international career.

Despite finding himself in the lonely trench of First-Class cricket, he continued to score mountains of runs. During the 1991-92 season, he averaged over 60. In 1992-93 when Punjab won the coveted Ranji Trophy for the first time, he was yet again a pillar of strength by averaging 46.08. With his wealth of experience, he also captained the side and piloted them to success.

In 1994-95 after a fine season with Punjab, Gursharan finally hung up his boots. He ended his career with 5,719 runs at an average of 43.79. He especially soared to dizzying heights for Punjab by aggregating 3,255 runs at an average of 56.13. Since walking into the sunset of his career, he has been running Gursharan Singh coaching academy in Gurgaon. Former Indian cricketers, Saba Karim and Vivek Razdan are also involved in running the academy.

Gursharan Singh did yeoman services in domestic cricket and should be proud of his twinkling achievements. Even now cricket lovers  see him from the prism of a tragic Greek hero who stood tall amongst the ruins with that epochal-making innings of 298 against Bengal in 1988-89.

(Bharath Ramaraj, an MBA in marketing, eats, drinks and sleeps cricket. He has played at school and college-level, and now channelises his passion for the game by writing about it)

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 20, 2014 (14:30 IST)   at Kolkata

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 22, 2014 (11:30 IST)   at Dubai

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 22, 2014 (19:00 IST)   at Cuttack

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Oct 25, 2014 (09:30 IST)   at Dhaka

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 27, 2014 (03:00 IST)   at Hamilton

More

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 24, 2014  at Mount Maunganui

South Africa won by 72 runs

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 21, 2014  at Mount Maunganui

South Africa won by 6 wkts

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 17, 2014  at Dharamsala

India won by 59 runs

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 14, 2014  at Visakhapatnam

Match cancelled

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 12, 2014  at Abu Dhabi

Australia won by 1 run

Photos

Pakistan vs Australia, 1st Test at Dubai

Videos

Amla feels Proteas more acclimatised to conditions

Live Cricket Score Duleep Trophy Central Zone vs North Zone, semi-final at Mohali Day 4: Naman Ojha out for 40

Live Cricket Score Pakistan vs Australia, 1st Test, Day 4: Azhar Ali out for 30

Live Cricket Score Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe, 1st Test Day 1 at Mirpur: Zimbabwe lose Sibanda in first over

World Cup 1992, England vs Pakistan: Three hours of rain changes course of tournament

David Warner’s transformation into a dependable and effervescent batsman

Australia Australia tour of UAE 2014 Australia vs Pakistan Australia vs Pakistan 2014 Duleep Trophy India New Zealand New Zealand vs South Africa New Zealand vs South Africa 2014 Pakistan Pakistan vs Australia Pakistan vs Australia 2014 South Africa South Africa tour of New Zealand 2014 South Africa vs New Zealand South Africa vs New Zealand 2014

MS Dhoni buys Hockey India League franchise, Ranchi Rays

Haroon Lorgat expects WICB to sort out issue before South Africa tour

Yasir Shah delighted by Shane Warne’s tweet

Zimbabwe reach 77/2 at lunch against Bangladesh on Day 1 of 1st Test

VVS Laxman: Would love to watch ISL match during my stay in Kolkata

Strangers, Brothers and Cricket— the English novelist CP Snow’s lasting passion for the game

World Cup 1992, England vs Pakistan: Three hours of rain changes course of tournament

David Warner’s transformation into a dependable and effervescent batsman

Pakistan vs Australia 2014: Spin hunt continues for visitors

Sarfaraz Ahmed may have trumped the Akmals as Pakistan’s wicketkeeper-batsman across formats

Fan of the Day

Suraj Gowda

Suraj Gowda

642 Posts | 9 Fans

Virat Kohli's Family Meets Anushka Sharma

अभिनेत्री हुमा कुरैशी ओरिफ्लेम की ब्रांड एंबेसडर

Has Bigg Boss 8 made Karishma Tanna the most hated person?

Pranab Mukherjee returns home after visit to Norway, Finland

Revealed: First look of Amitabh Bachchan-Farhan Akhtar’s Do!

7 reasons why having sex during pregnancy is great for your health

Videocon Infinium Graphite with gesture control feature launched, priced at Rs 10,499

Rupee up 19 paise against dollar in early trade

Twitter introduces Audio Cards to listen to music directly from your timeline

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here