HomeArticlesBharanaiah Vijayakrishna: A fire-brand cricketer unfulfilled ambition
Bharanaiah Vijayakrishna: A fire-brand cricketer unfulfilled ambition
Bharanaiah Vijayakrishna surfaced at a time when Erapali Prasanna and Chandrasekhar were ruling the roost. This did not deter this stout-hearted allrounder and when the right breaks came, he was there to grab them, though the national selectors developed a myopic eye to notice them. Representing a state for nearly a player exhausted and bored, that too. When his or her chances of making the next grade in the chosen game had already been proved impossible.
But 33-year-old Bharanaiah Vijayakrishna is neither tired nor suffering from monotony. Like most of the natural talent. Vijayakrishna possesses a philosophical outlook. Success, he considers, is God’s gift. Failure is accepted as the Almighty’s decision. Above all for him, playing cricket has become a habit. An unfulfilled ambition: During his remarkable career, there was a period when he nurtured the ambition of getting into the national team. “Some of the greats of Indian cricket in the late 1960s and early 1970s gave me a lot of confidence.
They praised my efforts and advised me to be more diligent in staking a claim for a place on the Indian side. I did work hard. But I soon realized that I was fighting a vain battle. The competition in those days was so fierce. Moreover, I just could not find a place, even on the South Zone side. I was included in the 14th side in 1969 but did not get into the eleventh.
My next chance came ten years later. That would tell the tale.” Vijayakrishna observes. That should not mean that Bharanaiah Vijayakrishna became a defeatist too early in his career. He just took it in stride. But ever since he made his Ranji debut in 1968, he has been giving his best to state cricket. He began well with four wickets against Hyderabad, followed by a five-wicket display against Tamil Nadu. But once Chandra was back in the room, Vijayakrishna was pushed to the status of a stock bowler.
More than his limitations, it was a lack of opportunity on the state team itself that killed his ambition. A useful half-century here and an effective breakthrough there with the ball used to be his contribution, which, however, enabled him to keep his place in the state eleven intact. I have no grouse. After all, they (Prasanna and Chandra) were two of the greatest bowlers of the game. It is not correct to say that my opportunities were shredded by their presence. Bharanaiah Vijayakrishna said it with conviction.
Fastest straight-forwardness hundred:
Vijayakrishna’s frank expression of views perhaps put him out of the side for the four Ranji League matches in the 1975–76 season, but he came back with a vengeance, so to speak. He was recalled for the first knock-out match against Maharashtra. A flamboyant 66 in the first inning, followed by a reverberating 102 in the second, naturally got him the “fastest century award” of the season. Thereafter, his place on the side could never be disturbed. There was only one more hundred (against Bihar in 1978) in his career. He has scored over 2,000 runs in the National Championship and has taken 100 wickets despite the decade-long dominance of the famous spin duo. That would speak for his consistency.
The Mani influence:
Bharanaiah Vijayakrishna cries when talking about V. Subramaniam, the former state skipper popularly known as ‘Mani’ in Karnataka cricket. If the places of Vijaykrishna, Brijesh Patel Sudhakar Rao. A. V. Jayaprakash and, of course, those of Visvanath and Syed Kirmani could never be questioned; it was mainly because of the great spirit Mani infused in us.
Bharanaiah Vijayakrishna says: We all made our appearances in successive years. Mani was the man who molded us into excellent cricketers. He was not only a great teacher but also an affectionate friend. It was he who taught us how to treat a newcomer. In a nutshell, if the Karnataka cricket team is living like a family, it is mainly because of Mani’s outlook.” “When I made my debut against Hyderabad, I was the only other spinner in the combination. Hyderabad, at that time, boasted top-class cricketers.
Mani told me not to get flabbergasted No doubt, they are great. But realize that you can also be great. That inspired me. I took four wickets in that match. His leadership took us ahead of Hyderabad in that match. With a total of less than 200, we gained the first-inning lead. And I was among the wickets, too, in my debut.
The confidence infused in me on that day by Mani alone made me continue. Vij became emotional Nagabhushan, a famous varsity cricketer from Mysore, brought Bharanaiah Vijayakrishna to the game, so to speak. It was he who forced him to bowl to him with a tennis ball with a car shed as the playing arena.
A skipper honors
Bharanaiah Vijayakrishna is proud that he played with great cricketers (was he not the hero of the Karnataka victory against Alvin Kalicharran’s team?).
In the 1971 season, he entered to bat against Rajasthan at the Central College grounds. He sustained a severe ankle injury soon after he arrived in the middle. Yet the limping, adventurous lad went on to thrill the crowd, of course, with a runner. He returned with a well-made 70 and odd. He just could not walk. Raj Singh, then-Rajasthan skipper, lifted Vijayakrishna on his shoulders to the dressing room.
Bharanaiah Vijayakrishna is capable of such heroic deeds and the state will certainly miss a fire-brand cricketer. After being a part of all three of Karnataka’s title wins up until that point, Vijayakrishna resigned after the Ranji final against Bombay in 1982–83. He took 6/79 and 3/89 against the 1978–79 West Indies squad to propel Karnataka to a memorable win.
In his fifteen-year (1968/69–1983/84) career as a left-arm spinner and left-handed batsman, Bharanaiah Vijayakrishna (12 October 1949–June 17, 2021) was an Indian cricket player who played for Karnataka. He participated in eighty first-class matches, amassing over two thousand runs and claiming 194 wickets.