A very long time back, I watched/listened to a cricket match against Pakistan in which one Anshuman Gaekwad scored 201. This was around 1983 but I forget when.
Discussing Gaekwad's feat with my uncle, I asked him if double-centuries happened only in Tests.
"Where else will it happen?", he asked rather incredulously.
"What about these one-day matches?"
He laughed and said, "How can that be? There are only 50 overs to bat. That means 300 balls. Even if a single batsman bats for 200 of those, he has to score a run every ball. Imagine, can't waste a single ball."
I did not give up.
"But Kapil scored 175 in one day, no?"
"But that was a 60-over match and usually one-day matches are all for 50 overs."

With no Google, no Cricinfo, no Wikipedia - I had no way of knowing how many balls my first cricketing hero took to score those 175 runs so I gave up on the debate. But for some reason, a double-century in cricket has been a huge fascination for me.
I wrote a story about an Indian cricketer, who plays truant after scoring a 200 in ODIs. Examining my tweets for the last few months, I realise that on three different occasions (apart from today), I egged on an Indian player (Sehwag twice among them) on towards that elusive Mt Everest.
About a decade back, another cricketing hero made a dash towards that milestone and lost out when one Mr Azharuddin hogged the strike towards the end of the innings.
Net net, it was a bit of a heartbreak all this while.

Which takes me back to the discussion with my uncle, who felt a bit sorry when he saw me a little deflated at the prospect of not seeing a double-century. (I must admit it was a rather silly thing to be thinking about in the early 1980s!) He cheered me up by saying, "But it may happen in the movies. You never know when Amitabh Bachchan will come and score a double century."
But that did not happen either. Kumar Gaurav, Aamir Khan under Dev Anand's stewardship, Aamir Khan under his own captaincy - all failed. But you can't blame them. If a filmi batsman scored 200 runs in limited overs cricket, we would have scoffed at the implausibility.

It had to happen in real life first. And it had to be by Him.
And that's the only truth. Sach.

I wonder if my uncle - who must have watched the match in Guwahati - remembers our conversation today.


Varun Mahajan said…
I had a Rs10000 bet with a friend that Dhoni would be the first to score an ODI double century. I lost the bet, but how happy I am to lose the bet.
Anonymous said…
Haan Beta, mujhe woh conversation yaad aa gayi hei :-)
Anonymous said…
In the match Ind-Pakistan match after Gaekwad had scored his 200 (he had given 6 chances on his way towards reaching that 200) Kapil Dev (India captain) and Lala Amarnath (expert commentator) had a very interesting confrontation in the TV commentory box during the tea break. Kapil who had come to visit the commentory box was told by Lala Amarnath that this was one of the most boring batting that he has ever seen. He said that he felt like sleeping when Gaekwad was making look batting so pathetic. Kapil retorted back at Lala Amarnath saying that it is easy to pass expert judgement from the expert panel's chair. Lala reminded him that he had actually played the game at the highest level for India. How I wish Lala would have seen HIM bat today?
Unknown said…
Well said, my friend. Well said