Ramakant Desai

Country: India
Born: June 20, 1939, Bombay (now Mumbai), Maharashtra
Batting Style: Right hand Bat
Bowling Style: Right arm Fast medium
Playing role: Bowler
Died: April 27, 1998, Mumbai, Maharashtra, (aged 58y 311d)

Ramakant Desai Bio

Ramakant Bhikaji Desai, also known as “Tiny” Desai, was a legendary cricket player from India who left an indelible mark on the sport. Despite his small stature, standing at only 5ft 4in, he possessed immense skill and determination that made him a force to be reckoned with on the field. Born on October 9, 1939, Desai’s career spanned from the late 1950s to the late 1960s, during a time when Indian cricket heavily relied on spin bowlers.

Desai’s talent was recognized early on when he was just 19 years old. He made his Test debut in the Delhi Test against the West Indies in 1958-59. Despite being relatively new to the international stage, he bowled an astounding 49 overs in the West Indies’ only innings, taking four wickets for 169 runs. This remarkable performance earned him a permanent spot in the Indian cricket team.

In the following year, during the crucial 1959 tour of England, Desai showcased his exceptional skills at Lord’s. In the match against England, he led the Indian attack, taking five wickets for 89 runs in a single innings. His out-swinger and relentless courage earned him praise from Wisden, which described him as a rare talent. Despite the team’s struggles, Desai consistently delivered exceptional performances. However, victory seemed to elude him, and he ended up being on the winning side in only four of his 28 Test matches.

Desai’s defining moment came during the 1960-61 series against Pakistan, where he played a crucial role in nullifying the threat of the formidable Hanif Mohammad. His deceptive bouncers troubled Hanif, resulting in his dismissal four times in just nine innings. This earned Desai the nickname “Ramakant’s bakra,” highlighting his dominance over Hanif, who was considered a rabbit in front of Desai’s bowling.

Desai’s contributions were not limited to his bowling skills alone. In the opening Test of the same series, he showcased his batting prowess by scoring a remarkable 85 runs while batting at number 10. His partnership of 149 runs with P. G. Joshi for the ninth wicket against Pakistan remains an Indian Test record. Despite challenging circumstances, Desai’s determination and resilience shone through.

In addition to his on-field heroics, Desai also experienced numerous setbacks, including a broken jaw during a match in Dunedin in 1967-68. Despite the injury, he displayed incredible grit and continued to bat, contributing 32 crucial runs to guide India to victory. Unfortunately, this match marked the end of his Test career, as he never played another Test match again.

After retiring from cricket in 1969 at the age of 30, Desai made a comeback in 1996 as the chairman of selectors. During his tenure, he played a significant role in the appointment and dismissal of Sachin Tendulkar as captain. However, his time as chairman was fraught with challenges due to his loyal nature, reticence, and deteriorating health. Ultimately, Desai resigned the month before his passing on April 27, 1998, in Mumbai while awaiting heart surgery.

Ramakant Bhikaji Desai’s legacy as one of India’s finest cricketers remains undeniable. His exceptional bowling skills, unwavering courage, and contributions as a lower-order batsman earned him respect and admiration from players and fans alike. Desai’s impact on Indian cricket and his dedication to the sport will forever be remembered and revered.

Ramakant Desai Career Stats

Ramakant Desai Batting Stats

Batting Matches Innings Nos Runs High Score Ave BF SR 100s 50s 4s 6s Ct St
Tests 28 44 13 418 85 13.48 - - 0 1 - 1 9 0
T20Is - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
ODIs - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
FC 150 179 48 2384 107 18.19 - - 1 9 - - 50 0
List A 1 1 1 7 7* - - - 0 0 - - 0 0
T20s - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Ramakant Desai Bowling Stats

Bowling Matches Innings Balls Runs Wkts BBI BBM Ave Econ SR 4w 5w 10w
Tests 28 45 5597 2761 74 6/56 8/190 37.31 2.95 75.6 8 2 0
T20Is - - - - - - - - - - - - -
ODIs - - - - - - - - - - - - -
FC 150 - 23965 11282 468 7/46 - 24.1 2.82 51.2 - 22 2
List A 1 - 60 25 2 2/25 2/25 12.5 2.5 30 0 0 0
T20s - - - - - - - - - - - - -

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