It’s never easy for a Cricketer from Odisha to make a mark in the International Cricket arena, but Debasis Mohanty with impressive bowling action made it to national squad, thanks to the recommendation of Coach K. Srikkanth.
It was also the time when Indian cricketers connected more with the batsmen than bowlers.
With his entry in the Indian team in 1997, the unassuming yet talented Cricketer from Bhubaneswar gave hope to Indian Cricket fans when fast bowling wasn’t India’s strong suit.
His ability to naturally swing balls both ways, particularly under favourable conditions, caught the fancy of Indian selectors and he found himself among the wickets, sticking around in the national squad longer than many other fast bowlers of his times.
Here are some little-known facts about the only Odia faster bowler who has made it to the International Cricket so far.
His First ODI Wicket was Saeed Anwar
Debasis debuted his one-day international career by claiming the left-handed giant, Saeed Anwar, the dangerous opener from Pakistan cricket team.
It was the very first match of the five-ODI Sahra ‘Friendship Cup’ between India and Pakistan in Toronto in 1997. With the help of Mohanty’s early blow, coupled with a tight bowling and fielding by the bowling unit, India was able to draw first blood with a 20-run victory.
His First Test Wicket was Sanath Jayasuriya
Mohanty had a rollicking start to his Test career in India’s tour of Sri Lanka in 1997. Sri Lankan heavyweights such as Sanath Jayasuriya, Roshan Mahanama and Aravinda de Silva were his first 3 wickets. He finished that innings with figures of 4 for 78 at Colombo.
He Made a Dramatic Entry into 1999 World Cup
After an ordinary year with the ball in 1998, Mohanty was set to miss out on the opportunity to represent India in the 1999 World Cup when he wasn’t named in the initial list of probables. However, Mohanty was roped in at the last moment keeping the England conditions in mind.
His next big contribution came in the game against England at Edgbaston. India needed a win to qualify for the super sixes and had to beat the home side for it. After being put in to bat by Alec Stewart, India managed to post 232, courtesy a half-century from Rahul Dravid and useful contributions from Sourav Ganguly (40) and Ajay Jadeja (39). The asking rate was under five and one would have expected England to finish on top and qualify for the next round. But, an all-round performance from the Indian bowling unit denied them the chance. Yet again it was Mohanty who started the proceedings. He dismissed the dangerous Stewart and Graham Hick off consecutive deliveries to jolt the home side. He finished with 2 for 54 as India won by 63 runs.
Mohanty went on to pick 10 wickets in the World Cup to become India’s second highest wicket-taker in the tournament after Javagal Srinath (12).
1999 World Cup Logo was Based on His Action
One of the most exciting aspects of Mohanty’s bowling was his fluid bowling action. It was so eye-catching that it was used as the official action of the 1999 World Cup graphical logo.
A couple of injuries and lack of opportunities (which he deserved so much) from the highest level, made sure his premature exit from the International cricket.
Courtesy: ESPN CricInfo, Cricket Country