Budhi Kunderan

2 Oct 1939
23 Jun 2006
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Budhisagar Krishnappa Kunderan(Tulu: ಬುಧಿಸಾಗರ ಕೃಷ್ಣಪ್ಪ ಕುಂದೆರನ್ ) About this sound pronunciation (help·info) (2 October 1939 in Mulky, near Mangalore in Karnataka – 23 June 2006 in Glasgow, Scotland) was an Indian cricketer. He played as a wicket keeper for the most of his career, and was an exciting but unorthodox right-handed batsman.

Budhi Kunderan made his first appearance in first class cricket for the Cricket Club of India against the touring West Indies in 1958-59. After just two first class matches, he was picked to play Test cricket for India against Australia in the next year. Through the fifties India had wicket keepers of about the same quality in Naren Tamhane, Probir Sen and Nana Joshi. Joshi and Tamhane had already been tried when Kunderan got his chance in the third Test. Kunderan got out hit wicket on his first appearance while attempting to pull Ian Meckiff but scored 71 and 33 in his next Test.

Kunderan had already played three Test matches when he made his Ranji Trophy debut in 1960. In his first Ranji appearance, he hit 205 for Railways against Jammu and Kashmir. His second first class hundred was also scored later in the year against the same opponents in a remarkable match that Railways won without losing a wicket.

From the early sixties, Kunderan had a new competitor for the wicket keeping position in Farokh Engineer. Both played in the series against England at home and toured West Indies in 1961-62. Engineer was selected ahead of Kunderan when England again visited India in 1963-64, but he was found medically unfit on the eve of the first Test at Madras. Opening the innings, Kunderan hit 192 with 31 fours, 170 of which came on the first day of the match. He scored another hundred at Delhi and finished with an aggregate of 525 runs in the series.

The Indian selectors dropped both Kunderan and Engineer from the next series against Australia and instead went for K. S. Indrajitsinhji. Engineer was then recalled for the New Zealand series that followed while Kunderan played as an opening batsman in the place of injured Dilip Sardesai.

In 1965, Kunderan left his job in the Railways and appeared for Mysore and the South Zone. A side effect of this was that he was able to keep wickets to the bowling of Chandrasekhar, Prasanna and Venkatraghavan in domestic matches. Recalled against West Indies in 1966-67, Kunderan scored 79 in 92 minutes in the Bombay Test. Early on in the innings, he appeared to have been caught by Garry Sobers but as the batsman prepared to depart, Sobers indicated that he had taken the catch on the bounce. One Test later, Kunderan again found himself out of the team.

The team that toured England in 1967 included both Kunderan and Engineer, but from here Engineer asserted himself as the primary ‘keeper. Kunderan played purely as a batsman in the second and third Tests of the series. When Sardesai retired with a hand injury in the Lord’s Test, he opened with Engineer and topscored with 47 out of India’s 110 allout. He opened both batting and bowling at Birmingham where India played four spinners. This was to be Kunderan’s last Test.

He served as a professional in the Lancashire league and then with Drumpellier in the Western Union in Scotland. In the early 1980s, he played for Scotland in the Benson and Hedges Cup in England. Kunderan lived in Scotland from the turn of the 1970s. His brother Bharat, also a wicket-keeper, played first class cricket for Indian Universities in 1970-71.

Budhi Kunderan died from lung cancer at the age of 66.

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