Sunil Joshi    Getty Images
Sunil Joshi Getty Images

Sunil Joshi, born June 6, 1970, was a slow left-arm orthodox bowler and an able lower order batsman who played for India in between 1996 to 2001. Though his international career didn t go as he would have expected, he was one of the domestic giants who was instrumental in taking his Ranji Trophy side Karnataka side to great heights. Suvajit Mustafi lists out nine interesting facts about the warrior from Gadag .

1. Early struggles: Joshi s passion undying passion for the sport saw him travel 65 kilometres every morning to Hubli for practice and returned back to Gadag for school. A combination of talent and tireless perseverance saw him break into the strong Karnataka line-up that was already beaming with potential India and potential national stars.

2. Dream domestic season in 1995-96: In the 1995-96 Ranji season , Joshi picked up 52 wickets and scored 529 runs at an average of 66. They were numbers not easy to ignore for the selectors and the southpaw was handed the India cap for the Birmingham Test in 1996. Three months later he played his first One-Day International (ODI).

3. Making a mark in international cricket: While Anil Kumble was India s main spinner, Joshi played an important role in his very first One-Day International ( ODI) series in Sri Lanka. He picked up four wickets at an average of 15 and scored a resilient 58 at No. 8 to rescue India to a 200 plus total when they were struggling at 89 for six against the mighty Australians. For the next few years he was in and out of the side, and failed to make it to the 1999 World Cup squad.

4. Sought help from Bishan Singh Bedi: Joshi had a smooth silky action. Despite being dropped frequently, Joshi didn t give up and sought Bedi s help to get better at his art. The tips must have surely helped because what followed was a rare sight in limited -overs cricket.

5. 10-6-6-5: In 1999, South Africa were a dominant force and had played some inspiring cricket in the World Cup. On the other hand, Joshi didn t even make it to the World Cup squad. In the LG Cup league match at Nairobi, the South African batsmen found it tough to negate Joshi s spin web. He not only dismissed the Proteas stars Boeta Dippenaar, Herschelle Gibbs, Hansie Cronje, Jonty Rhodes and Shaun Pollock, but also gave away only six runs from his quota of 10 overs. His figures of 10-6-6-5 was at the time, the third most economical analysis by anyone completing his full quota of overs in ODIs.

6. Bangladesh s inaugural Test: Bangladesh marked its entry to Test cricket by playing a match against India at Dhaka. Joshi s fifer had restricted Bangladesh to 400 and then it was the partnership with Sourav Ganguly and Joshi, which saved India from blushes as they managed a lead. Joshi, who scored 92, starred in India s win and was the man-of-the-match. He picked up a total of eight wickets in the match. He last appeared for India in 2001 as India s spin for the next many years to come was handled by the experienced Kumble and the immensely talented Harbhajan Singh.

7. Domestic legend: Undeterred by non-selection in the national side, Joshi kept spinning webs in domestic cricket. He contributed immensely to Karnataka s dominance in domestic cricket. By the time he called it a day in 2012, he had 615 First-Class wickets at an average of 25.12 and four hundreds to his name.

8. Played for Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB): Joshi played first two seasons of the Indian Premier League (IPL) in 2008 and 2009 for RCB. In spite of being in the late-30s and having played his last international match seven years back, Joshi s dominance in domestic circuit was awarded with an IPL stint.

9. Coaching career: Many youngsters in domestic circuit look up to Joshi and the southpaw took up coaching. He was first the coach of Hyderabad and currently is with the Jammu and Kashmir side. In 2014, he tasted success with J&K side when they beat the strong Mumbai in the prelim rounds of Ranji Trophy. In 2017, he was also approached by Bangladesh to be their spin consultant.

(Suvajit Mustafi consumes cricket for lunch, fiction for dinner and munches numerous other snacks throughout the day. Yes, a jack of several trades , all Suvajit dreamt of was being India s World Cup winning skipper but ended up being a sports writer, author, screenwriter, director, copywriter, graphic designer, sportsmarketer , strategist, entrepreneur, philosopher and traveller. Donning so many hats, it s cricket which gives him the ultimate high and where he finds solace. He can be followed at @RibsGully and rivu7)