Dr (Capt) K Thimmappiah has been one of the most successful and widely popular player-turned-administrator in Indian cricket. His immense contributions in the field of sports, medical sciences and social services make him one of the proudest sons of Karnataka.
The 84-year-old Dr Thimmappiah has the distinction of serving in the Indian Army in the Second World War as an officer for three years. He served the Board of Control for Cricket in India on all committees representing Karnataka State Cricket Association.
He was the National Junior Selection Committee member for many years and also the manager of Indian Test sides from 1960 to 1978.
Dr Thimmappiah is the president of the board of trustees of Bala Mano Vikas Kendra , a school for mentally retarded, in Bangalore. He has also been the honorary secretary, treasurer, vice-president and president of the Family Planning Association of India.
"I think all this fuss about match-fixing is a big drama and nobody will be able to prove it. It is a tamasha and a sort of publicity gimmick," Dr Thimmappiah told Indiainfo.com in an exclusive interview. The following is an excerpt of the interview:
Can you tell us something about your initial days?
I was playing a lot of cricket during my younger days and I was the captain of the school team. I was a good batsman, medium pace bowler and an excellent fielder. My father was a good cricketer. I think cricket was in my blood.
My initial days were in Mysore and after that we moved over to Bangalore for the intermediate and college level. In Bangalore, I joined the Bangalore United Cricket Club and used to play cricket in Cubbon Park.
In 1934, I joined the Bangalore Medical School. I was the captain of the medical school and medical college teams. In my younger days, I was a good athlete and a volleyball player.
Those days there were only a fewer tournaments. I used to play in tournaments at Madras, Hyderabad and Bangalore a lot during my younger days. Those days the university team would be as strong as the state Ranji Trophy team.
I was the first player from Karnataka (erstwhile Mysore state) to score a century in Ranji Trophy in 1941 against Madras. Later I joined the Army. I played in the second Commonwealth Games in 1949.
Do you think you deserved a place in the Indian Test team?
I still feel I was in no way inferior to anybody. If I was given a chance, I would have surely performed well. But I have to blame myself for not making it to the team because during the peak of my career, I was in Burma for the Second World War for three years.
By the time I would make a come back and establish myself, many youngsters would have established themselves. There was not much publicity in our days, which would help a player's career.
Now the scenario has changed. A player might get a chance to play just because of mere packaging. Even parents of kids play an important role in shaping their ward's cricketing future.