10 Facts about Balwinder Sandhu: The Lucky Charm

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Balwinder Singh Sandhu
Balwinder Singh Sandhu. (Photo Source: The Hindu)

Many tend to forget the efforts put in by one of India’s former cricketers – Balwinder Sandhu. Although his cricketing career spanned slightly over two years, it was perhaps one of the more flamboyant and action-packed years in India’s illustrious cricketing history. A World Cup winner with the Indian side that famously beat the West Indies in 1983, Sandhu has become one of the few forgotten cricketers to have ever won the World Cup in Indian colors. That said, here are a few compelling facts about one of India’s forgotten gems – Balwinder Sandhu.

1. Birth:

Balwinder Singh Sandhu was born on the 3rd of August 1956 in Bombay, Maharashtra.

2. The Ramakant Achrekar effect:

Ramakant Achrekar has been credited with producing some of India’s finest players, with Sachin Tendulkar and Vinod Kambli being the pinnacle of his work. Sandhu initially was spotted in a summer coaching camp before being inducted into the massive ‘Shivaji Park’ maidan, where he spent a short yet productive stint with Achrekar.

3. The Big Break:

Sandhu’s tryst with domestic cricket came in the 1980-81 edition of the Ranji Trophy when Karsan Gharvi left the squad to join up with the Indian team. Sandhu did not play in the first two matches of the season but then his debut against Gujarat where he claimed nine wickets. He was not part of the side to play in the final against Delhi that season but was included at the last moment when the originally chosen Ravi Kulkarni dropped out.

4. The more-than-useful tail-ender:

Balwinder proved to be more than a useful tailender when he was able to smash half-centuries whilst batting at either number 10 or even 11. On his debut against Pakistan, he smashed 71 and stitched an important partnership with Mohinder Amarnath and is also known to smash useful and quick runs for scoring quick runs.

5. The action-packed career:

Balwinder Sandhu’s short stint with cricket may have lasted just 8 Tests and 22 ODIs, but what made it action packed was the simple fact that he was a player with a touch of every quality. He could bowl, bat and fox the batsmen at will, something that helped him make a case for himself in the India squad.

6. Debut against Pakistan:

Balwinder Sandhu made his debut against Pakistan in Hyderabad in Sind. However, his debut was overshadowed by the record partnership between Mudassar Nazar and Javed Miandad who smashed 451. Balwinder scored 71 in the first innings, a score that was not enough to save the Indians as they lost by an innings and 119 runs.

7. The unforgettable Gordon Greenidge moment:

Sandhu famously cleans bowled Gordon Greenidge with a huge inswinger to which the batsman had shouldered arms.

8. The 1983 World Cup final:

Sandhu was a part of the side that was famously dubbed as ‘Kapil’s Devils’ who eventually went on to win the World Cup in 1983. Sandhu played a significant role in the Indian team that won the 1983 World Cup. Batting at No.11 in the final, he put on 22 runs with Syed Kirmani during which he was hit on his head by a bouncer.

9. Exploits in Ranji Trophy cricket:

Sandhu was not part of the side to play in the final against Delhi that season but was included at the last moment when the originally chosen Ravi Kulkarni dropped out. In a sensational spell, he reduced Delhi to 18-5 on the first morning and finished with nine wickets in the match. His 25 wickets in the season came at an average of 18.72.

10. Later career and coaching:

Sandhu played domestic cricket for Mumbai one more time in 1986/87 with making little or no impact. He later went on to play domestic cricket in Kenya as well as accepting a small coaching role. He has also been involved in the ICL for a brief period of time.

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