There rarely was a dull moment with Javed Miandad around. The former Pakistan captain was an entertainer on and off the field. His words and mannerisms were as delightful as his backfoot punches through the off side. Among his many on-field banters with cricketers, the ‘what is your room number?’ one with former India left-arm spinner Dilip Doshi has a special fan following. The story has been retold many times by various former cricketers from both India and Pakistan, including Sunil Gavaskar.
Recalling that incident that took place during the India vs Pakistan 1st Test in 1983 at Bengaluru, Dilip Doshi revealed what exactly transpired between him and Javed Miandad.
“Basically you got to understand that Javed has this street fighting attitude, a truly great batsman, one of the best I’ve bowled to, I really respect him as an opponent. He’s a good friend as well, I love him off the field but once he got on the field, it was like a change of character,” said Dilip Doshi in an interview with former India left-arm spinner Murali Kartik.
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He loved room outside the off stump. My style of bowling is bowling at the stumps. I restricted his favourite shots, if he had to carry on, he would have had to take risks. Sometimes he wasn’t willing to do that, it would frustrate him and the only way he would try to get you off your concentration was to create some sense of irritability and he was good at that, he has done with Kiran More, he did it with Dennis Lillee and he has done it many more times with me. So he would tell the close-in fielders something to pass on the message to me or walk across after the ball is bowled and he would say something,”
“That day what he was trying to do in Bangalore on my recall Test was trying to tell me ‘What’s your room number? I wanna hit the ball there.’ It became a legendary thing, many people have repeated that, with some added spices but it’s fine, it was all in good banter,” Doshi added.
When asked by Kartik whether Miandad was actually able to hit him in that match, Doshi said, ‘he struggled’.
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“No, he struggled, he couldn’t hit me. He made 98 and got out,” said Doshi.
That Test match incidentally turned out to be Doshi’s last for India. He said he was disappointed for getting dropped despite being the ‘best spinner’ in that Test match.
“That was the last Test match I played and I think I had bowled quite well and felt very dejected and disappointed and even bitter to never get an opportunity after that. All the critics that were watching declared me the best bowler by far in that match so then you feel like there’s no point in persisting playing for India. That’s where I decided I’ll play one season for Saurashtra, my home by birth. So I played one season before developing my business,” added Doshi.
Doshi, who represented India in 33 Tests and 15 ODIs picking up 114 and 22 wickets respectively between 1979 and 1983, said players like Miandad, Allan Border, Greg Chappell always brought the best out of him.
“Allan Border, Greg Chappell, Javed Miandad they brought the best out of me. I got Wasim Raja and Ian Botham a few times too, they are the challenges I used to love,” he added.