P Ravi Achan
For me cricket was a passion and it was one reason that prompted me to play the game. In those days cricket was mostly played in Thiru-Kochi. The selection to the senior team was based on the performance in the match between Ernakulam and Thiruvananthapuram. The players from Malabar were included only when the State of Kerala came into being. In those days the game was in a state of infancy in Kerala. There was hardly any equipment to play the game. There weren't any grounds or turf wickets. Cricket was played on matting wickets made of coir which had to be booked and brought from Alappuzha. When we played against other sides outside Kerala, it was mostly on jute matting and on turf wickets. Paying on Jute mats and turf wickets was not easy compared to coir matting and that was the reason why we struggled against other teams when we played them outside out state.
I was part of the team which won the Kerala's first Ranji Trophy match against Andhra but I don't consider it as a big achievement. Andhra fielded a relatively weak team against us. They missed two or three regular players who were dropped because of some issues. Nevertheless a win is a win. I had said this when we were celebrating the 50th anniversary of Kerala's first win in Ranji Trophy. I started off as a leg-spinner but switched to medium pacer to play in one-day matches. I have bowled off-breaks, leg-spin and Medium pace in Ranji trophy matches. However, I had my first victim stumped while bowling leg-spin.
I enjoyed bowling all three variations during Ranji Trophy matches. Balan Pandit and I were the integral part of the Kerala cricket team in the 60's and 70's but ironically we didn't retire in the same season. Whereas Balan Pandit had actually announced his retirement I was available for selection but to my bitter disappointment the selectors didn't name me in the squad. Nevertheless, I am happy with what I have achieved on the cricket field.