The name of Deepak Shodhan may be unknown to present cricket lovers around the globe, but he was a terrific bat in his hey days. It is a pity that he could play only three Test for India. Amazingly he still holds the distinction of having the highest Test average for India.
Yes , ahead of Sunil Gavaskar and Sachin Tendulkar. Deepak Shodhan, however, will always be remembered for his achievement of scoring a century on debut and that too against Pakistan when he scored 110 at Calcutta in 1952.
A very good batsman of fast bowling, Deepak Shodhan's career was cut short by sheer politics, which existed even during those days.
"Though I scored a ton on my debut, I could play only three Tests and that's because of politics," Deepak Shodhan said in a free-wheeling interview. The following is an excerpt of the interview.
How did it feel to score a Test century on debut?
Obviously, I was very happy. Actually I was not to play in that Test, but Vijay Hazare couldn't reach Calcutta and I was picked. Though I batted at number 8, I grabbed the opportunity with both hands and scored a century.
The crowd's response was terrific. I would have been happier if I had scored that century at Brabourne because my friends would have watched that feat.
What went through your mind when you faced Fazal Mehmood that Test?
Actually I had scored 84 runs for West Zone against Pakistan at Ahmedabad, but in that match Fazal didn't play. So many people advised me how to play against him. I think he didn't trouble me. Still I must reckon him as the best I had faced.
He didn't give me a single half volley to drive and I had to wait for the bad balls but I tell you that he didn't bowl a single one.
You toured West Indies also, but didn't get much chance there?
That's true. Though I scored a ton on my debut, I could play only three Tests and that's because of politics.
What sort of politics are you talking about?
There were some cricketers who did not want me in the side, and particularly one cricketer, a great cricketer indeed, had spoiled my cricketing career.