Monday, August 6, 2007

A.S. Krishnaswamy - a profile

Ever since 1946, A.S.Krishnaswamy, the reputed cricketer, was a member of THE MYSORE GYMKHANA, for nearly a decade and a half, the golden years of his cricketing career. He was a student at the Sarada Vilas and D.Banumaiah's High Schools, Yuvaraja's (earlier known as First Grade College), St.Philomena's and Maharaja's Colleges.

Popularly known as 'ASK', he was admired as 'debonair' and 'crisis man' by his fans. He was a born cricketer and self styled. His cricketing abilities seemed to come to him naturally and it flowed in an uninhibited manner. Renown for his stroke making abilities, his batting was a treat to watch. He was a great crowd-puller and obviously their darling. He often responded to the crowd's shouts for sixers and duly obliged them soon after. There were two leg-break/googly bowlers in those days for the Mysore Gymkhana: one was the great Y. S. Ramaswamy himself and the other, ASK. He was a safe slip fieldsman too.

In the early 1950s, ASK represented the Mysore University (included the entire Mysore State in those days) for four years and scored centuries in every year. In 1952-53, he set a record 242 not out against the University of Madras, which was to be broken by Ajit Wadekar in the mid-sixties in the Rohinton Baria Trophy. In 1953-54, he led Mysore University to the final. In 1953-54, he led Mysore University to the final. In the same season, he was selected for the All India University team which played against the Silver Jubilee Overseas Cricket team, led by Leslie Ames at the Central College ground, Bangalore. Again in 1956-57, he represented the All India University team against New Zealand at Nagpur. ASK represented the Mysore State and took 4 for 58 against the Second Commonwealth Overseas team, which had Sir Frank Worrell in their ranks, at the RSI ground in Ban­galore.

ASK represented the State team (then known as Mysore) in the Ranji Trophy Championship from 1950 to 1960, with distinction. In 1958-59, he led Mysore through to the final. He also went on to play for the Railways under the captaincy of Lala Amarnath.

In 1958-59, ASK played for South Zone against the touring West Indies, which had Sobers, Hall, Gilchrist and Alexander, at the Central College ground, Bangalore, where his innings is remembered even today. He was hit on body by Hall and Gilchrist but showed tremendous courage and hit them all round during that scintillating knock. The touring Australians under Richie Benaud in 1960, ASK was among the reserves for the Kanpur, Delhi and Madras Test Matches.

After his glorious playing days were behind him, he served the Karnataka State Cricket Association as the Chairman of the State Selection Committee from 1984 to 1986. In 1991, the KSCA honoured this great cricketer from Mysore with the well deserved benefit match at K.G.F.

A.S.Krishnaswamy has done Mysore cricket proud, The Mysore Gymkhana happy and given immense joy to everyone with his delightful cricket and he will go down in history as a man, an unfortunate one, not to have represented India in Tests. A case of 'so near, yet so far'. But the sparkle of his cricketing genius will glow for ever in the minds of those fortunate ones who have seen him play, with that typical, rare natural flair.

~~This profile was compiled by T.R.Venkatesan [and K.R.Dinakar] for the TMG’s Golden Jubilee Souvenir.

Post Script:
Yours truly played against ASK on 18.3.1984 at the MCG when TMG had organized a get-together match against the past TMG veterans. He showed his skill and reflexes even at a not-so-young age! He bowled his leg breaks and I had the good opportunity to face a few of them. My just-for-change leg breaks that took 4 wickets was still no match for his natural style!

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