January 26: Cricketers from India and Australia who were born on this special day
Clockwise, from top left: Kim Hughes, Simon O'Donnell, Tim May, KC Ibrahim, Ashok Malhotra and Shivlal Yadav © Getty Images and Dawn

January 26 marks important days for both India and Australia. For India, it’s the 66th Republic Day, the day in 1950, when the Government of India Act of 1935 was replaced by the Constitution of India as the governing document of the nation. While Australia day commemorates the establishment of the first European settlement in 1788 at Port Jackson, now part of Sydney.

Both the cricketing nations have produced some great players, Tulika Bhattacharya lists down players who were born on this special day.


1. KC Ibrahim (India), born January 26, 1919


Khanmohammad Cassumbhoy Ibrahim, fondly known as “KC”, was a top-order batsman who made his First-Class debut in 1938-39. He was a prolific run-scorer in domestic cricket and captained Bombay University, Bombay teams in the Ranji Trophy. In the 1947-48 season, Ibrahim accumulated 1171 runs with four unbeaten knocks of 218, 36, 234, 77 followed by 144 a total of 709 without being dismissed, a record which earned him the Indian Cricketer of the Year award for the season. He made it into the Indian side in 1948, but failed to build on his first-class reputation as he played just four Tests against West Indies in 1948-49. He retired from First-Class cricket when he moved to Karachi in 1950.


2. Kim Hughes (Australia), born January 26, 1954


Kim Hughes was one of the best finds in Australian cricket. But captaincy in the early stages of his career only four victories in 28 matches as skipper saw him condemned for being the boy leading a pack of ruthless men. The ‘Golden Boy’ of Australian cricket couldn’t achieve the heights he was meant to. A treat to watch at the crease, Hughes hit a century on debut for Western Australia and then went on to make 4,415 runs at 37.41 from 70 Tests, 28 of which he captained the national team. He scored nine hundreds in all with a highest score of 213 against India at Adelaide Oval. Criticism from former players and media led him to eventually resign as Australia’s captain on November 26, 1984.


3. Shivlal Yadav (India), born January 26, 1957


Shivlal Yadav was an off-spinner who played 35 Tests for India, made an brilliant start to his Test career by claiming seven wickets on debut against Australia at Bangalore in 1979. He played a pivotal role in India’s win in the next Test against Australia with his fine bowling display. A successful debut and picking up 24 wickets in five Tests helped him secure his place in the side, in the process ousting Srinivasaraghavan Venkataraghavan. His career-best figures of eight for 118 runs and five for 76 came in the same season against Australia and Sri Lanka respectively. He picked up his 100th Test wicket against Pakistan in his penultimate Test. Post his retirement, Yadav has been an important part in Hyderabad cricket administration.


4. Ashok Malhotra (India), born January 26, 1957


Ashok Malhotra was a productive batsman in the domestic circuit with the record of most runs in the Ranji Trophy – 7274 at 52.49 with 18 centuries under his name for a long time. Selected on the basis of his domestic performances, the right-hand middle-order batsman was unable to do justice to his talent as he played only seven Tests and 20 One-Day Internationals (ODIs) for India but was a part of the Indian side that won the World Championship of Cricket in Australia in 1985. After retiring from international cricket after proving his service to the team for five years, Malhotra became a Test selector, and later the coach of the Bengal team in 2013.


5. Tim May (Australia), born January 26, 1962


Tim May was a traditional off-spinner from Australia and a resolute tail-end batsman. Also a member of the 1987 World Cup side, May fared well in Tests, having played 24 of them and picking up 75 wickets. His career-best figures of five for nine and a highest score of 42 not out came in the fourth Test against West Indies in 1992-93 at Adelaide which they ultimately lost by a mere one run. A master in orthodox off-spin bowling, May became the inaugural Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Australian Cricketers’ Association in 1997 post his retirement.


6. Simon O’Donnell (Australia), born January 26, 1963


Simon O’Donnell was a gifted all-rounder in the Australian One-Day International team. A talented Australian Rules football player, O’Donnell had to choose between the two sports he was good at. His decision to pursue cricket meant his soccer career at the age of 21. He played 86 One-Day Internationals (ODIs) and smashed the then fastest fifty in ODIs off 18 balls against Sri Lanka in 1999. He was also a part the Australian side which won the 1987 World Cup.


Special mention:


Diana Edulji (India), born January 26, 1956


Diana Edulji, a former Indian women’s Test cricketer was a successful slow left-arm orthodox bowler who made her Test debut against West Indies Women in 1976. She was made the captain of team in 1978. One of the greatest Indian woman cricketers of all time, Diana was awarded the Arjuna Award in 1983 and Padma Shri in 2002 for her contribution to the sport.


Ashish Bagai (India), born January 26, 1982


Ashish Bagai is a right-handed wicket-keeper batsman who was born in Delhi and studied there till the age of 11 before moving to Canada and playing for and captaining his adopted country.


Ishwar Maraj (India), born January 26, 1969


Ishwar Maraj of Indian descent was born in Trinidad and Tobago but went on to play for Canada as a left-handed upper-order batsman. An occasional right-arm spinner, Maraj hit three half-centuries in the 2001 ICC Trophy, one coming in the match against Scotland that Canada won, taking them to the World Cup.



(Tulika Bhattacharya is a budding cricket journalist, presently interning at CricLife. She can be followed on Twitter at https://twitter.com/Chirpychika)