Indian cricket was never renowned for producing express fast bowlers as they were dependent on their spinners for providing breakthroughs for many decades.
However, it all changed when the likes of Javagal Srinath started coming through the ranks. The Mysore-born held the record for bowling the fastest delivery by an Indian (154.5 kmph) for a long time.
Since making his debut in 1991, Srinath had been an indispensable part of the Indian bowling front, claiming 315 wickets in ODIs and 286 wickets in Tests.
Moreover, the Karnataka pacer recently revealed that he was unhappy with the way the selectors handed him a short sabbatical during the 2002 England tour.
So much so, that he even turned down a request from the then Indian captain, Sourav Ganguly, who wanted him to feature in the lineup against England.
“I think before the World Cup, we had toured the West Indies Without my knowledge, the selectors told me I had to take a break. Generally, we used to talk and then I used to volunteer saying ‘look I need a break’. But this time they just said ‘we’re giving you a break’ and that didn’t go well with me. Obviously, I was a little upset. I didn’t want my career to be played in the hands of anybody,” Srinath told Sportskeeda.
Instead, Srinath decided to play county cricket in England, rather than accepting the offer from Dada.
“I missed the England tour. Of course, Ganguly called me and said ‘look, you better be part of the England tour’. I was upset and told him ‘No, I wouldn’t be.’ Now when I think of it, I should have played for India rather than playing County. Later when things cooled down, I decided to come back. I wanted to play the World Cup. Every World Cup is like a generation,” added the cricketer turned match-referee.
But, the seamer, in the twilight of his career, made his way back into the Indian team during the 2002 New Zealand tour, and then the subsequent 2003 World Cup.
In the coveted tournament, Srinath picked up 16 wickets in 11 matches and hung his boots after the finals.
His best performance came against Sri Lanka where he ended up with figures of 4/35 in 8 overs.
“My strength in India was diminishing and there were hungry fast bowlers. So, I did not want to block their way. I was happy. I did not regret anything. It’s always good to walk out with your dignity,” concluded Srinath.