Friday, August 3, 2007

Y.S.Ramaswamy - tribute by Pachu

The Writer, Late M.N. Parthasarathy, [seen above in the foreground left in this rare album picture, sitting next to KM Subba Rao, yours truly on his left and brother between his laps] popularly known as Pachu or M.N.P. was an Assistant Professor of English in the University of Mysore. Earlier he was an Assistant Master at the Maharaja's High School Mysore. As teacher he encouraged his students to play cricket. He built a good team by sheer hard work. Pachu was also a renown radio cricket commentator, lived in Yadavgiri, Mysore.
As early as 1932 he identified a very good leg spin bowler at a local school and enticed him to join his school - the Maharaja's High School. That boy was
Y.S.Ramaswamy, M.N.P. was a benefactor, well-wisher. With his contacts at Bombay, M.N.P. provided Y.S. Ramaswamy to play for the 'Hindus'in the Quadrangular alongside the great C.S. Nayudu.

"YSR", as he was popularly known, has a unique and very rare record of capturing all twenty wickets in a match to which M.N.P was a witness to the actual event that took place at the Oval Grounds [Opposite Crawford Hall];
This article , reproduced below, was first published in 1972 for a souvenir for the occasion of the Ranji Trophy match between Mysore and Andhra at Mysore’s Maharaja’s College Grounds.


I am writing these words on the 'Saraswathi Puja-day' .And my mind nostalgically turns to a unique cricket event which took place nearly four decades ago. Before The Mysore State Cricket Association was formed (as a pan the Dasara Celebrations of Mysore), we used to have cricket tournament, for Seniors and High Schools.

High school teams from all over the State used to compete in the Tournament. This particular year - 1934, the Methodist Mission High School of Bangalore was meeting in Marimallappa's High School, Mysore, in the final.

The Marimallappa's High School was captained by Sri N. Krishnaswamy, the wellknown sports correspondent of Bangalore, and two of its members were the late Sri Y.S. Ramaswamy and Sri K. Thimmappaiah (now Dr. Captain Thimmappaiah) a live-wire of the State Association.

The scene of the final was the Mysore 'Oval' grounds. Ramaswamy was bowling from the District Office end, when the Methodist school completed its first innings all their ten wickets had been taken by Sri Y.S. Ramaswamy, who bowled wide back-of the hand leg-breaks. The Marimallappa's innings ended with a slight lead for them.
Then on the second day, the Methodists went in for their second innings. Sensation mounted. For every wicket that fell was going to the credit of Sri Y.S.R. 15, 16, 17, 18 wickets of the Methodists all fell to Y.S.R.

I sensed something of a world record was about to be created, and so watched the match from the Oriental Research Institute end. Not only was Y.S.R. breaking from the leg nearly two feet, the ball was also swerving in the air.
Tension mounted and history was created when all the ten wickets of the Methodists fell to Y.S.R. for a second time in the match.

Mr. William Pichumuthu, the sports secretary of the Methodists and Sri B.K. Ramaswamy of the team, sportingly congratulated Y.S.R. on his remarkable performance. This feat brought Y.S.R. into limelight and also to the notice of knowledgeable cricketers.

At this time Y.S.R. had only the legbreak as his chief and only weapon of attack. Under the guidance of well-wishers within 2 years he, developed the googly and the top-spinner too.

Now that he was fully equipped the first of lndia's full developed googly-cum-Ieg break bowler, he was able to get contacts with influential cricketers of Bombay, Calcutta, and Madras.

He toured Ceylon with the University Occasions under the Leadership of Wazir Ali and in the company of Vijay Merchant, P.E. Palia, D.R. Puri, Banerji, K. Bose, Pearson Surita, Berry Sarbhadikari and others. He was the bowler who took the highest number of wickets - 36 in all on the tour.

In this short sketch is not my intention to talk of Y.S.R.'s performances. His excellent work in the Quadrangular trials gave him a place in the Hindu's side of 1936 Quadrangular he was the first South Indian to get this honour. His performances in the Inter-Universities matches brought him under the notice of Prof. Deodhar and others. Playing for the Mylapore Recreation Club, Madras, he met the Venkata Ramanujular Brothers, Prof. C.K.K. Pillai, Sri C.R. Pattabhiraman, Sri G. Parthasarathi, Sri K.R.Ranga Rao, Sri M.J. Gopalan and Sri C. R. Rangachari and others.

Y.S.R. is remembered by all these people as a great sportsman and gentleman. Years later when I met commentators Devraj Puri and Berry Sarhhadikari they enquired of me as to how Y.S.R. was keeping. As for Merchant, he had special affection for the googly-bowler. When Y.S.R. was bedridden, Merchant was in Mysore on his way to Ooty, and would not leave the place without calling on Y.S.R.. When Merchant was commenting in last year's Ranji Trophy final, he mentioned Y.S.R. and his achievements.

The State Association every year conducts the Y.S.R. Memorial Tournament. Other cricketers have greater achievements to their credit. But few have the virtues Y.S.R. had - modesty, self-effacement, interest of the team first and foremost above all a genuine anxiety to see other cricketers got their due.

Later as a responsible sports officer he tried to see that every young sportsman got the best opportunity. I wish that the Y.S.R. memorial inspires cricketers to emulate the attitudes to Y.S.R. towards cricket and life.

One more reason for my writing this short article remains to be mentioned. In Y.S.R's time, no state team went without some Mysore City boys being in it - sometimes we had even 3 or 4 of them representing the State.

But in the last decade, there has not been one cricketer earning his place in the State team. Nay, often there is not even one representative even in the Association Eleven.

I hope, the present Ranji Trophy tie being played here, will inspire young Mysore Cricketers, to rise to heights of achievements to earn their place in the State Eleven and what is more grow to be Y.S.R.'s in their attitude to cricket and life.

Author of the blog adds:
One K.B.Srinivasa Rao [a colleague, a great cricket lover and himself a leg-spin bowler in his younger days] told me that he as a young boy came to watch YS Ramaswamy at the Maharaja's College Ground nets, standing behind it. From there he could watch how the ball swerved in the air and then spun after pitching. Just like him, many other people used to come and watch YSR bowl.
Prof.Ananthaswami Rau told me an incident about the generosity of YSR. Once for a league cricket match YSR was supposed to attend/play for The Mysore Gymkhana, but in order to give a chance to some one (forgot name) who otherwise would have sat out the game, he deliberately did not turn up at the ground. YSR wanted that man to play.

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