Alvin Kallicharan vs Dennis Lillee

As part of my ongoing quest to convert readers of this blog into becoming cricket fans, I thought I would share a short clip from 1975 in which West Indian Alvin Kallicharan gives a gorgeous batting display. What makes this even more remarkable is that he scored these runs not off some journeyman bowler but against Dennis Lillee of Australia, a magnificent fast bowler who, along with Michael Holding of the West Indies, had the smoothest and best bowling actions that I have ever seen.

Furthermore, note that Kallicharan had no helmet or other protective gear, which was a later development in cricket following some serious injuries. He was also very slightly built, just 5’5″ in height, so the bouncing ball would often come to him at the height of his head. Lillee was a bowler who could wreak havoc on opposing sides because of his speed, bounce, and accuracy. But this clip shows Kallicharan as fearless, using exquisite timing and footwork to score runs off one of the best bowlers to play the game.

As an additional bonus, the commentator is Richie Benaud (his distinctive voice is instantly recognizable), who captained Australia and had a well-deserved reputation as one of the wiliest captains who on many occasions snatched victory from defeat for Australia by his bowling or batting or captaincy skills. After retirement, he went on to become an excellent play-by-play announcer and cricket analyst. I really liked listening to him because he did not insult the listener by yakking just to fill airtime but instead was sparing in his use of words while giving high quality insights.

So watch and simultaneously enjoy a great batsman, great bowler, and great commentator.


  1. Mano Singham says

    Yes. When the umpire raises both arms like the touchdown signal, he is signaling that it was a six.

  2. oualawouzou says

    Since I couldn’t understand what was going on, I looked up a summary of cricket rules (and the basics are so much simpler than I thought). There’s one thing I don’t understand though, maybe you can explain:

    If I understand right, a batting team can *decide* to end their batting turn instead of waiting to be all out. Does it happen often? I mean… it’s strange that a team would foregot the chance to score more runs. Is there a strategy behind such a decision that I’m missing?

  3. Brian E says

    oualawouzou, it’s known as a declaration. The captain declares the innings completed. It happens regularly in test (5 day) matches and other multi-day matches (4 day first class). It might happen because the batting side has sufficient runs to allow their bowlers to get the other side out before the game time elapses and thus win the match instead of drawing it. Australia defeated South Africa.

    For example, in this game in progress between the Kiwis and Windies, the sub headline reads “New Zealand 508 for 7 dec ” That is, New Zealand scored 508 runs for the loss of 7 wickets, then declared the innings over.

  4. Brian E says

    I was going to write “Australia defeated South Africa recently using this tactic”. But didn’t…..:)

  5. hyphenman says

    OK Mano,

    You’ve convinced me. I hereby declare this to be my summer of Cricket!


  6. Mano Singham says


    In addition to what Brian E. says, the key point is that one form of international cricket known as Test matches are time-limited in that the game ends after five days. If you haven’t got the opponents all out by then, it doesn’t matter how many runs you have, the game is a no-decision (or a ‘draw’). So you have to give your side enough time to get the other side out and this is what leads to a declaration.

    I also had a post back in 2006 explaining the rules of cricket that you might want to check out.

  7. oualawouzou says

    Thanks Brian and Mano, I missed the part about time limits when I looked it up. That’s really cool, it adds a whole other layer of strategy to the game.

  8. Matthew Penfold says

    Mano, are you going to be able to listen to or watch the test starting on Thursday between England and Sri Lanka ?

  9. Mano Singham says


    I cannot possibly watch five days of cricket but I will pop in from time to time if the video stream is available.

  10. Matthew Penfold says

    Mano, I can highly recommend checking out the Test Match Special broadcasts on BbV Radio. They should be available in the US, and they do a daily 30 min podcast available a an hour or so after the close of play.

  11. DsylexicHippo says

    Thanks for sharing. Kallicharan, Lillee, Holding, Marshall, Garner ….yeah, those were the days!

  12. Sunday Afternoon says

    Oh yes, and sometimes the Test Match Special commentary is actually available streaming online. It depends on the broadcast rights for the particular match, but I have enjoyed having breakfast in California listening to the evening session of an English test match.

  13. Sunday Afternoon says

    Last post on this topic -- I have one final comment to add.

    I specifically listen to the Radio 4 LW (long wavelength) stream (as opposed to the Radio 5 option) when TMS is available. I do this because at roughly 5 minutes to 6pm UK time they break for the shipping forecast which outlines expected weather conditions at sea in the waters surrounding the British Isles.

  14. Mano Singham says


    Knowing Brian Johnson (another good commentator) and his sense of humor, I am perfectly willing to believe he would have said that.

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