Published: Monday, January 3, 2000, 18:23 [IST]
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Are you happy with the punishment the players have received?

They needed to be punished. There is no question about that. We know young cricketers are coming up and they should see what happened to the big stars for committing such mistakes.

How much was the match fee during your playing days?

When I was playing, we used to receive just Rs 250 for five days and a first-class fare and that was it.

To what extent money was important for you?

We didn't think much of money those days. We played the game for the fun and we loved the game so much that we never felt about it the money or lack of it. It's only now that we can see cricketers becoming multimillionaires and yet they are doing a few things which are not good for the game and that really hurts me.

What was your best period as a player?

Well my best period was before the Independence. I started in 1944 when I played for Holkar, Maharashtra and Mumbai. We won the Ranji trophy four times and I represented India in 1946-47.

We toured Australia in 1947-48 and we were up against the greatest side of the world with players like Sir Don Bradman, Sid Barnes, Miller, Lindwall and Morris. I believe that was the greatest side ever and we didn't do well because at the 11th hour some of our top players dropped out including Merchant, Modi, Mustaq and Fazal Mehmood. So the team was weak and our batting and bowling power was poor.

Any special memories of Sir Don Bradman?

Yes, He was the greatest. He was virtually a genius just like our Dhyan Chand in Hockey. His exceptional quality was to play the ball late and all his strokes were between the two fielders and the way he used to control his strokes was amazing. He also had a great sense of timing. I have seen Sir Garfield Sobers, Walter Hammond, George Hadlee but he was the greatest and there is no argument about that. Nobody could overshadow his consistent brilliance.

And who is the best Indian you have seen?

Well as far as opening batsmen are concerned, Sunil is my choice and he was better than Len Hutton. Sachin is the most attacking batman I haveseen and definitely he reminds me of Sir Don. Only thing is that Don could concentrate for longer times and he could go on and on after scoring a century, which is not the case with Sachin.

India is known as the country of spinners, but where are the spinnersnow?

I think we don't have the kind of spinners who can flight the ball. Prasanna was the greatest in the art of flighting the ball and today Muralitharan is the one, but that type of bowling is not there in India. Besides as a spinner you need to be a thinker otherwise you don't take wickets on good pitches.

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