Javagal Srinath (born 31 August 1969) is a former Indian cricketer and currently an ICC match referee. He is considered among India’s finest fast bowlers, and is the first Indian fast bowler to take more than 300 wickets in One Day Internationals.
Srinath was a frontline fast bowler for the Indian cricket team until his retirement, and the second Indian pace bowler (after Kapil Dev) to take 200 Test wickets. After Dev, he led the Indian fast-bowling attack for over 9 years. Srinath is India’s second-highest ODI wicket-taker with 315 (second to Anil Kumble’s 337), and the first bowler to take 300 ODI wickets for India. He was the fastest 100-wicket taker in ODI.
He took 44 wickets in the 1992, 1996, 1999 and 2003 Cricket World Cups. Srinath is the joint highest wicket-taker for India in World Cup competition with Zaheer Khan, who took the same number of wickets in the 2003, 2007 and 2011 tournaments. Srinath is the fastest Indian bowler to take 200, 250 and 300 wickets in ODI, and the second-fastest Indian to reach 150 wickets. He is the leading wicket-taker at Sharjah Cricket Stadium, where he took 39 wickets. Srinath is one of eleven bowlers who took 300 wickets in one-day international cricket, and the only Indian fast bowler to take 300 wickets.
Srinath retired from international cricket after the 2003 World Cup in South Africa.
Srinath was born to a family who settled in Karnataka on 31 August 1969 in Mysore district, Karnataka, and was attracted to cricket at an early age. He attended Marimallappa High School and college in Mysore, and has a Bachelor of Engineering degree in instrumentation from Sri Jayachamarajendra College of Engineering (SJCE) in Mysore. Srinath spent his first two years of college at the Malnad College of Engineering in Hassan. He married Jyothsna in 1999; after their divorce, he married journalist Madhavi Patravali in 2008.
Srinath caught the eye of former Indian Test batsman Gundappa Viswanath, a selector for the state team, during a club match. He made his first-class debut for Karnataka against Hyderabad in 1989-90, taking a hat-trick in the first innings. Srinath followed this with wickets off successive balls in the second innings. He finished the season with 25 wickets in six matches, and took another 20 the following season. His second season involved a display of reverse swing against Maharashtra at Nehru Stadium in Pune, taking 7/93 to dismiss the home team for 311 in response to a Karnataka total of 638 on a good batting track.
Srinath took over 500 first-class wickets; playing for Karnataka, he took 96 at 24.06. He joined Gloucestershire in 1995 and took 87 wickets that season, including 9-76 against Glamorgan. Srinath also played English county cricket with Leicestershire and Durham.
After South Africa’s tour of India in late 1996, Srinath traveled to South Africa (where speed guns were in use). This was the only series in his career where speed-gun readings were available before his career-threatening 1997 rotator-cuff injury. Srinath made his One Day International debut in the Wills Trophy at Sharjah in 1991. He is India’s most prolific wicket-taker at the World Cup, with 44 wickets from 34 matches. Srinath is India’s highest wicket-taker in ODI matches as a fast bowler, and the only Indian fast bowler to surpass 300 wickets in ODI matches. The only other Indian bowler to achieve this feat is spinner Anil Kumble. Srinath played 11 ODI matches and two test matches in his debut year, and took 14 ODI wickets for an average of 30.00.
He was selected for the Indian cricket team for its 1991-92 tour of Australia. Making his test debut against Australia at Brisbane, Srinath took 3/59 as the third fast bowler and finished the tour with ten wickets at 55.30. With an opportunity to take the new ball against South Africa in Cape Town, he took an economical 4/33 in 27 overs and ended the tour with 12 wickets at 26.08. Because the wickets in India were conducive to spin, however, Srinath spent seven consecutive home tests watching from the sidelines as India fielded only two fast bowlers.
In late 1994, with the retirement of Kapil Dev and three years after his international debut, Srinath played his first home test against the West Indies. He took five wickets and scored 60 in the second innings to be named Man of the Match, as India won by 96 runs. Srinath’s increased opportunities coincided with an improvement in his batting, and he scored two half-centuries in the series.
In the 1997-98 series against Australia, one of Srinath’s deliveries was clocked at 149.6 kilometres per hour (93.0 mph). According to Zimbabwe captain Alistair Campbell, Srinath was clocked at 157 kilometres per hour (98 mph) on 27 January 1997 in a game at Paarl between India and Zimbabwe: “We then moved on to our second game against India, at Boland Bank Park. In all 236 was quite a decent score, as it wasn’t the easiest of pitches to bat on, and Srinath I think, bowled the quickest than any of our guys had ever seen. He bowled a really quick spell early on, even quicker than Allan Donald; he was timed at 157 km/h, a good 10 km/h faster than Donald was bowling throughout the tournament. Grant Flower was hit on the thigh pad, and when he came off he said he thought he had broken his leg”.Campbell faced Lance Klusener and Alan Donald at their peak, and found Srinath to be quicker. He and Grant Flower had also faced Waqar Younis at his peak, and Wasim Akram and the Pakistani fast bowlers before that. They played a full three-test series in January 1995, when they won their first test match (defeating Pakistan by an innings and 64 runs and scoring 544/4 declared in their only innings), but they said they never faced anyone as quick as Srinath.
His fastest recorded ball was 157 kilometres per hour (98 mph). Srinath was India’s only regular fast bowler for many years, and his workload is believed to have caused his injuries; he underwent surgery on his right shoulder in 1997.
He had more success against South Africa than any other Indian player, taking more than 60 test wickets with an average of 24.48. Srinath took 17 wickets in three test matches during the South African tour of India, and during the Indian tour of South Africa he took 18 wickets in three test matches. He took 35 wickets in six test matches during the November 1996 – January 1997, with an average of 24.94.
Srinath’s rotator-cuff injury, diagnosed in March 1997, kept him away from cricket until November of that year and affected his speed. The injury was caused by overuse. At the time, he had 92 test wickets in 27 tests46 in his first 18, and 46 in his last nine matches. It was wondered if Srinath would ever be able to bowl again, let alone play at his previous level. When he announced his retirement in November 2003, Srinath said that he thought his career was over when he was recovering from the rotator-cuff injury. Australian fast bowler Dennis Lillee called him “a genuine fast bowler”. Although some critics said that Srinath’s average and strike rate suffered as a result of bowling to India’s predominantly dry, spin-friendly wickets, his average at home was superior to his average abroad since he knew could reverse-swing the ball.
Srinath missed the third test against Australia in Bangalore in March 1998, the match following the one in Kolkata where he was man of the match. He appeared in four of India’s five test matches that year.
Srinath received his first man-of-the-match awards in ODI and test cricket in 1992, against South Africa in a test match in Cape Town and against Sri Lanka in an ODI in Kanpur. He played 18 ODI matches and taken 34 wickets, for an average of 19.00. Srinath took five wickets in an ODI match twice in 1993, and India won many matches with his help. He played three test matches that year and took nine wickets, for an average of 18.00.
He played four test matches and 23 ODI matches in 1994, taking 13 test wickets and 33 ODI wickets for an average of 25.00. Srinath received his second test-cricket man-of-the-match award against the West Indies in Bombay, scoring 60 runs off 72 balls coming at ninth place and taking four wickets in the second innings.
Although Srinath became the main bowler in 1995 after Kapil Dev‘s retirement, he played only three test matches and 12 ODIs for the Indian team due to injuries. With his spell of 3/24, New Zealand were all out for 145 in the first innings; India won the test match by eight wickets, with the remaining two matches halted by rain. Srinath took 17 wickets in ODIs, and received his second ODI man-of-the-match awards in Mumbai against New Zealand.
He and Venkatesh Prasad opened matches, and Srinath was selected for the World Cup for the second time as a main fast bowler. He was successful in 1996, taking 33 test and 33 ODI wickets. Srinath received his third test man-of-the-match award with 6/21 against South Africa. He was used as a pinch-hitter in the Titan Cup by captain Sachin Tendulkar; scoring a fifty, he helped India win the cup.
During the 1996-97 season, Srinath took 35 wickets against South Africa in six test matches. He took five wickets against South Africa in Johannesburg in January 1997, and took 22 test and 15 ODI wickets that year. However, Srinath spent a nine months away from cricket (from February to November 1997) due to a rotator-cuff injury. He missed five test matches in the West Indies in March and April 1997, two tests in Sri Lanka in August and one-day marches in the West Indies, the Independence Cup in May, the Asia Cup in Sri Lanka, a one-day match against Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka, the September Sahara Cup in Toronto, and the three-match one-day series in Pakistan in September and October. In 1998, Srinath took 17 wickets in test matches and 37 wickets (his record) in 19 ODI matches for an average of 22.00the best year of his career.
With the change of captain on the Indian team in 2000, Srinath was given fewer overs than Anil Kumble in test matches. He was primarily used in ODI matches and test matches abroad, taking 21 test and 15 ODI wickets. Srinath took nine wickets in a test match against Zimbabwe in Delhi, and received his last test man-of-the-match award that year.
Inactive for much of the year due to emerging bowlers such as Zaheer Khan and Ajit Agarkar, he played eight test matches and 15 ODI matches (getting 33 test wickets for an average of 27.00). Srinath’s test career ended in 2002, when he played against the West Indies and Zimbabwe and took 20 test wickets. He also took 20 ODI wickets, with a spell of 4/23; against New Zealand, he took seven wickets for 87 runs.
Although Srinath wanted to retire from ODI, at the request of Indian captain Sourav Ganguly he agreed to play until the World Cup. He participated in India’s tour of New Zealand in January (a few weeks before the World Cup), where he took 18 wickets in seven matches.
Srinath is the only Indian fast bowler (excluding Kapil Dev who was an allrounder) to appear in four World Cups. He was selected for the 1992 World Cup and, although the Indian team performed poorly, took eight wickets. Srinath began playing for the national team as a third bowler in both formats of the sport in 1992. He played six test matches and 19 ODIs, and was selected for the 1992 Zimbabwe tour in 1992. Srinath took 3/35 against Zimbabwe (who were all-out for 209), and India won the match by 30 runs.
In his third World Cup he had 11 maiden overs, an economy rate of 4.26, and took 11 wickets. Srinath took 13 wickets for 132 runs in a test match against Pakistan (bowling 8/86 and 5/46), and took 44 test wickets and 34 ODI wickets in 1998. He received two test man-of-the-match awards in Kolkata: in March 1998 against Australia, and in February 1999 against Pakistan.
Srinath played his last ODI in the World Cup in 2003, and was the leading Indian wicket-taker. In the final, he took no wickets and conceded 87 runs in an Australian victory. Srinath took 16 wickets in the World Cup, for an average of 23.06 and an economy rate of 4.04.
Although his batting average was not impressive, his batting won matches for India. Srinath and Anil Kumble helped India win an ODI match against Australia in Bangalore in the October 1996 Titan Cup, securing India a berth in the final. They added 52 runs for ninth wicket partnership, after Sachin Tendulkar got out at 88 when India was 164/8, chasing a target of 216 runs. Srinath scored 30 runs off 23 balls, and his innings included two fours and a six. He scored a 50 against South Africa in Rajkot, and India won the cup.
Srinath had a test batting average of 20.00 when Mohammad Azharuddin was the Indian captain, scoring three half-centuries and 76 runs against New Zealand. In 1994-1995, his test batting average was almost 35.00. Azharuddin made Srinath a top-order batsmen, and he often batted third or fourth with Azharuddin, Ajay Jadeja and Rahul Dravid.
Srinath was the second Indian bowler (after Kapil Dev) to take 200 wickets in test cricket, with 236. He has taken eight wickets in second innings (Kolkata 1999-2000 test match, India vs. Pakistan), and his spell of 6/21 against South Africa in 1996 insured India’s victory. Srinath took 35 wickets against South Africa in six test matches in 1996-1997. When Indian opener Sadagoppan Ramesh tried to catch a Pakistani player, he was advised by Srinath not to try and take a catch because Anil Kumble should take all 10 wickets.
Srinath toured England with the Lashings World XI team in summer 2005, and was a commentator for the India-England test series in 2006. In an interview, 1992 World Cup-winning Pakistan captain Imran Khan said that after watching Srinath bowl 150 kilometres per hour (93 mph) on Indian pitches he considered him the most underrated bowler in the world. Courtney Walsh recommended Srinath for county cricket when he was injured. Srinath is a familiar face to cricket viewers around the world as a commentator and ICC match referee. In 2010, he and former teammate Anil Kumble contested the Karnataka State Cricket Association elections. They won and Srinath, as secretary of the association, promotes young cricketers in Karnataka.
- World’s best bowling figures (13 wickets for 132 runs) in a test match (sum of both innings) on the losing side
- Highest number of wickets in World Cups by an Indian bowler
- Highest number of wickets in ODIs among Indian fast bowlers
- Third-highest wicket-taker among Indian fast bowlers in test matches (after Kapil Dev and Zaheer Khan)
- Second Indian to take 300 ODI wickets
- One of 11 bowlers who have taken more than 300 ODI wickets
- Second-highest number of not outs in Cricket World Cup history (nine, second to Steve Waugh)
- Arjuna Award – 1999