There are many things Dilip Vengsarkar is known for in Indian Cricket folklore, one thing that he isn't for remembered as much for though, is his wonderful past playing for the country at the Home of Cricket, Lord's.
One of India's finest batsman, Vengsarkar scored three Test hundreds - 103 in 1979, 157 in 1982 and 126 not out in 1986 - and narrowly missed one during his fourth and last appearance as a player in the year 1990.
The former Indian selector is currently in England and is unlikely to be present when India plays at Lord's in the upcoming 5-match Test series but the reminiscence of those glory days still happens to him.
Vengsarkar, who is in England with his academy U-19 team, talked about that beautiful past to Sportstar and said, “Believe me, that(1990) was the only time I was under pressure to get a century at Lord’s. Very anxious. Very excited,”
Jack Hobbs, Len Hutton, Denis Compton and Geoff Boycott had all hit three hundreds in a row at Lord’s. Vengsarkar would have been the only one to score four. He was on 52 when he got out and still pains him somewhat.
“I got out to an ordinary ball. That hurt. When I really wanted a century at Lord’s, I could not"
A portrait of his copybook batting stance still adorns the walls at Lord’s, about which he is quite amused, and him saying, “Only when I saw the picture at Lord’s did I realise I had a good stance,” with a smile, tells us that.
But, he also doesn't like being only remembered for his exploits there.
He said, “Why do you all remember me only when India prepares to play at Lord’s?,” Vengsarkar asks in jest. “I have four centuries at the Ferozeshah Kotla (in Delhi). Three of them have come against the West Indies and one against Pakistan. All against very strong bowling attacks.”
"There is history. There is tradition. It is a venue where you want to score a century. The ambience is great when the ground is packed. You get positive vibes when you walk out to bat at Lord’s. It’s really electrifying. And then John Arlott and Richie Benaud in the commentary box. What more could you ask for.”
“When I first played (in 1979) people were apprehensive. And then I got out for a duck. My first innings fetched nothing at Lord’s but I got a century in the second innings. It was a relief. Imagine a 'pair’ at Lord’s.”
Vengsarkar talked about what makes batting in England such a challenge and scoring runs there so special and said, “You don’t change your game. You adapt to the conditions. Good sunshine you make the most of it. When it is cloudy, you are tested. Every break means you start your innings afresh. It is challenging and nice too.”
He concluded by reiterating why he rates the knock in the 1986 series as his best on the historic ground, “India won that Test, the first time ever at Lord’s. Maninder (Singh) helped me get to the hundred. I was 85 when he joined. A few Tests ago, he had left me stranded at 98 (against Sri Lanka) by playing a cross-batted shot. I warned him not to play cross-batted. Told him he won’t go home if he did that,”
(Inputs from SPORTSTAR Live)