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Interview with Farokh Engineer

Interview with Farokh Engineer

The scene is a gathering of Indian Entrepreneurs from around the world. In walks this old chap filled with the enthusiasm and exuberance of a 24 year old, smiling and socializing with everyone around him. His smile was so contagious, it took up the charm of TMC correspondent Varun Sabharwal.

One of the original Brylcreem boys, Farokh Engineer was one of India’s finest wicket-keepers of all time. Equipped with a swagger of a West Indian walking out to the crease, he was also a fine opening batsman, once scoring 94 before lunch against an attack that boasted the likes of Hall, Griffith, Sobers and Gibbs. TMC caught up with him to recall some of his memories:

TMC: Farokh, a pleasure to meet you here in the lovely setting of Lisbon, Portugal

FE: My pleasure boys, and what a lovely city it is.

TMC: Take us back to that famous hundred at the Chepauk in 1967 against the West Indies.

FE: Well, that would have to be my proudest innings and perhaps my finest moment. It came against the West Indians where I made a rapid century (121 in total, 94 before lunch, I believe) facing the bowling of Hall, Griffith, Sobers and Gibbs. On a cooler day in Madras, it was January, the Windies quicks ran in hard that day, and I tell you they appeared bloody quick. Those guys were in my opinion were faster than the bowlers of today regularly clocking in excess of 100 mph.  Of course there was no protection in those days. People tend to think the big four – Holding, Garner, Roberts, Marshall were the quickest, but I think guys like Wes Hall and Charlie Griffith were far more terrifying.

FE: (digresses) The cricket box was invented in 1868.  It then took another 110 years till the helmet was first used (by Graham Yallop of Australia in a test match in 1978). Just goes to show it took man 100 years to realize that protecting your head is as important as protecting your b*lls.

TMC: How long have you been living in England for now?

FE: Arree dost ab to yaad bhi nai, lagtaa hai jaise ek arsaa ho gyaa hai (I don’t even remember now, it seems like a really long time).

TMC:  So has anything been able to separate the master wicketkeeper from his first love (cricket)?

FE: As he looks at his lovely wife and smiles. Nothing can separate me from cricket.

TMC: So Farokh, do you still manage to play these days?

FE: Nai yaar ab kahaan, ab to buddhe ho gaye hain (Man, I have grown old now).

TMC: How have you kept in touch with cricket? Are you involved in the coaching aspect of the game at all?

FE: Not really but, I am closely associated with Lancashire i.e. apart from being a referee In the Indian Premier League.

TMC: Do you think the Indian test team is on a downward slump? Even though the side won the World Cup, it has not been able to translate its One Day form into the test arena, especially during the overseas drubbings it received in England and Australia.

FE: That’s not true son, Indian team still has many great players.

TMC: Then why did they fail miserably in Australia and England?

FE: It can be the conditions, but I believe that most important is the mindset of the team. It’s possible that the team’s mindset can be different at different times. Physical injuries and the role that they play on the players mind can be tremendous. We had just come off the back of a grueling World Cup campaign, and a victorious one mind you, and a lot of the players seemed mentally and physically tired. Come another summer, that same Indian team could have beaten the likes of England or Australia away.

TMC: Do you have any advice for up and coming cricketers?

Farookh: One thing I’ve always maintained is that the best part about cricket is that no matter what level you play the sport to, there is an immense satisfaction one derives from playing the game. You just need to love the sport, it doesn’t matter at what level you play.

Till next time…

TMC Staff



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