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India vs West Indies: Narendra Hirwani, the Windies tormentor on debut before Prithvi Shaw

Before Prithvi Shaw, Narendra Hirwani tormented West Indies with a 16-wicket haul in 1988

Bengaluru, October 4: Prithvi Shaw is the toast of the nation after notching up a hundred on his Test debut against the West Indies at Rajkot on Thursday (October 4). Shaw made a superb 134 off 154 balls with 19 fours. However, another Indian knows all about tormenting West Indies - Narendra Hirwani.

A leg-spinner from Gorakhpur, Madhya Pradesh, Hirwani, then a 19-year-old bespectacled lad with a headband, bamboozled the West Indians at the MA Chiadambaram Stadium, Chennai in 1988. Hirwani had grabbed eight wickets in both the innings of the Test (8/61 and 8/75) for a match haul of 16/135 - till date the best figures by a debutante bowler.


Hirwani's effort in the fourth Test helped India beat the Windies by 255 runs and share the honours in the series. The memories are still fresh in his mind. "In fact, skipper Ravi Shastri had told me much ahead that I will be playing that Test in Chennai. So I was mentally ready and it was a big challenge. West Indies were the No 1 team then and everybody wanted to make an impression against them. I was excited," said Hirwani.


Ravi Shastri, now India's coach, led India in that Test because regular skipper Dilip Vengsarkar missed the match because of an injury. Hirwani said the high point of his 16-wicket haul was getting Viv Richards out in both the innings. "Viv was batting on 62 at the end of Day 2 and we knew the dangers of allowing him to stay longer at the crease. I was bowling leg-breaks and googlies as per captain's direction on that day and had picked up a few wickets too. But Viv was reading them well.

"The next day was a rest day. When the play resumed I decided to bowl some flippers to Viv. In fact, I was planning it throughout the rest day. It worked as the flipper breached his defence and gave me the wicket of Viv. At that moment, we felt that we were in with a chance to win the match. I got him out in the second innings too en route my eight-wicket haul. It was a big moment for a beginner to perform like that."

The entire nation was raving about Hirwani and Bollywood superstar Dharmendra too paid a visit to him. "He was staying at the same hotel and came to meet me and congratulated me and the entire team. Those were really heady days for a debutante," he said.

Brief scores: India: 382 all out (Kapil Dev 109, Arun Lal 69, M Azharuddin 47; Winston Davis 4/76, Courtney Walsh 3/85) and 217/8 decld (WV Raman 83, M Azharuddin 39; Courtney Walsh 4/55, Patrick Patterson 2/17) beat West Indies: 184 all out (Viv Richards 68, Richie Richardson 36; Narendra Hirwani 8-61) and 160 all out (Gus Logie 67, Clyde Butts 38; Narendra Hirwani 8-75) by 255 runs

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    Story first published: Thursday, October 4, 2018, 16:08 [IST]
    Other articles published on Oct 4, 2018
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