Balwinder Singh Sandhu, born in 1956, had a short cricketing career, but it could be described as ‘fascinating’. In his international career, Sandhu has played only 8 Test matches and 22 One Day Internationals. However, he has made an impact as a useful tailender, who could swing the ball both ways. A late bloomer who came into the India side in 1982, making his debut for India in ODI before Tests, Sandhu’s first-class experience earned the right-arm-medium-fast bowler the opportunity to represent India.
The pacer made his debut for India on December 3, 1982, against Pakistan. After a couple of impressive performances, Sandhu was called into the Test side, where he made his debut for India in January 1983, once again, against Pakistan.
Following a string of impressive performances, Sandhu was included in the 1983 World Cup squad. Till date, his delivery to dismiss West Indies’ Gordon Greenidge is still talked about as it gave ‘Kapils Devils’ the much-needed breakthrough in the finals of the 1983 World Cup at Lord’s.
Here are some lesser-known facts about Sandhu:
Training Under Ramakant Achrekar: Under Ramakant Archrekar, many players have gone on to represent India, including the likes of Sachin Tendulkar and Vinod Kambli, with the Master Blaster being the bar set. Archrekar spotted Sandhu during a summer coaching camp where the Mumbaikar spent a short stint with the renowned coach before moving on.
The Breakthrough: Sandhu made his impact in first class cricket on being handed the chance to play for Mumbai in the 1980-81 Ranji Trophy season. After Karsan Gharvi left the side after being called up to the national squad, Sandhu was given the opportunity to play against Gujarat, where he claimed nine wickets in the match.
71 on Debut: On making his Test debut against Pakistan in 1983, Sandhu went on to smash a critical 71 for India. Till date, that’s Sandhu’s highest score in his international Test career. The pacer was a handy tailender who has gone on to score half-centuries at number 10 and even 11.
1983 World Cup Heroics: From adding a helpful 22 runs in the finals with Syed Kirmani at No. 11 to clean bowling out Greenidge through an inswinger to give India the much-needed breakthrough, Sandhu played a vital role in India’s World Cup victory in 1983, scripting his name in Indian cricket history.