A right wrist withered by polio was converted into a weapon that struck fear in the hearts of batsmen across the world. This fact can give inkling about the kind of determination with which ace spinning legend B S Chandrashekhar faces life.
The Beginning of the Journey
Bhagwath Subramanya Chandrashekhar was born on May 17, 1945 in Mysore. He suffered an attack of polio when he was around six years old. By the time he was 10, his hand had recovered and the young Chandrashekhar turned into an enthusiastic street cricketer.
The family soon shifted to Bangalore and he got a chance to play for City Cricketers. In an interview, Chandrashekhar stated that he joined up mainly to get a chance to play with the leather ball. While playing on the streets of Bangalore, he had mainly used a rubber ball.
Even while playing for the club, Chandrashekhar tried different styles of bowling including fast bowling. It was in 1963 that he settled down to bowling leg spin. The results were good enough to get him an entry into international cricket within three months.
He made his Test debut against England in Mumbai in 1964 and his unplayable deliveries created misery for batsmen. Most batsmen found it difficult to read his deliveries. This was not surprising because Chandrashekhar often said that he himself was never very sure about what was going to happen when he bowled.
Winning Laurels for India
B S Chandrashekar along with his spin partners B S Bedi, E Prasanna and S Venkatraghavan soon had the Indian team on a roll. Chandrashekhar’s 6 for 38 at Oval gave India her first series win against England in 1971.
He also played a big role in India’s first ever win against Australia in 1978. India won the match at Melbourne and Chandrashekhar took 12 wickets for 104 runs.
Chandrashekhar retired from international cricket in 1979. He had played 58 international matches and took 242 wickets for the country. He had also played one ODI game and returned with the admirable figures of 3 for 38.
Chandrashekhar was named the Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 1972 and also got the Wisden Best Bowling performance of the century in 2002. He got this award for his 6/38 against England at the Oval.
Post Cricketing Glory
After his retirement from international cricket, the legendary spinner settled down in Bangalore. His retirement has been plagued by ill-health caused by a couple of unfortunate accidents. A road accident left him with serious leg injuries.
But with the same indomitable spirit that he displayed throughout his career, the cricketer has fought his way back to good health.