On looking back
I made my debut against Madras at Thiruvananthapuram in the opening match of the 1958-59 season. I did little of note on my debut. The second match of the season we were up against a strong Mysore side at Palakkad. At that time I was a second year BSC student of Government Victoria College and it was only my second first class match.
It was the first match to be played at the Victoria College ground. P Raviachan was our captain. Those days we didn't have turf wickets and all matches in Kerala were played on matting wickets. The match against Mysore was also played on a matting wicket. I was tense playing in front my home crowd. Those days I didn't have a proper playing kit. It was the magnanimity of my college PED lecturer who agreed to loan me the kit which belonged to college that enabled me to play in that match. As I said before Mysore was a strong side. My opening partner in the first innings was NK Rajan and we were dismissed cheaply for 152 runs. I failed in the first innings. Mysore made a strong reply though Ravi Achan bowled well to take five wickets.
When I walked with Englishman John Gilbert Hugh Thwaites to open the second innings I wanted to do well. But wickets fell at regular intervals at the other end. But I was unfazed and played each ball on merit. I remember I was batting without an arm guard, thigh pad or helmet. Mysore’s opening bowler, Kasturirangan was fired up and he was also frustrated that I was keeping them longer on the field. He bowled a lot of balls aimed at my body. I got hit on a couple of occasions but I never flinched and continued to bat. I remember we were dismissed for 169 but I remained not out with 69.
At the end of the match my body was bruised and swollen but I felt no pain. But at that time I didn't realise that I was the first player from Kerala to carry the bat through the innings. It just happened. I was determined but I only delayed the inevitable as Mysore won the match comfortably. I carried on that form in the next match against Andhra and made my highest first class score of 94. My debut was memorable for me. That year I was also a member of the Kerala University tennis team and had been the runner-up in singles event the previous year.