When Tom Alter Played Cricket For India Under Sunil Gavaskar’s Leadership


Not many people know that Tom Alter was also a part of the Indian eleven that played against the USA XI in 1983. The Indian team was led by former captain Sunil Gavaskar. The team had quite a few big names including the likes of Mohinder Amarnath, Ravi Shastri, Roger Binny, Yashpal Sharma, Sandeep Patil, Madan Lal and Balvinder Sandhu. Alter bowled four overs in that match and also picked up the wicket of the opposition captain. Penning down his experience, Alter wrote in 2016 Wisden Almanack on how ecstatic he was after picking up the wicket. “I bowled four good overs, got the rival captain lbw, and was embraced by Gavaskar and Kirmani and Madan and Mohinder and Ravi and Roger…We won the match.”

Besides being a versatile actor, the 67-year-old was also a renowned sports journalist in the eighties and nineties. Known to be the first person to take the former India captain and one of the legends of the game Sachin Tendulkar’s first Television interview, Alter was known for his views about the game of cricket and was an avid sports lover. On Sunday, Tendulkar took to Twitter and uploaded a screengrab of the interview that he gave Alter in 1989 when he was just 16, and captioned the image as, “Through my first ever TV interview, met a true sports lover and a good human being. You will live in our hearts forever. RIP #TomAlter.” Alter, who was fighting cancer died in Mumbai on Friday night.

Earlier this year in an interview published by Times of India, Alter recollected his earlier days in Delhi and said, “‘When I was young, I used to come here to watch the matches ‘ Feroz Shah Kotla for cricket, Ambedkar Stadium for football, Dhyan Chand National Stadium for hockey and Delhi Gymkhana for tennis. Watching sports was the main motivation for me to come to Delhi. I used to come to the hotels and swim in their pools. In those days, there used to be a famous restaurant in Kashmere Gate where I liked to dine. Now, I like the restaurants at India Habitat Centre and Khan Market. I used to go to Regal to watch films.”

While it has been almost 29 years since Alter took Tendulkar’s interview, he clearly remembered every minute detail of the interaction. According to several reports, Alter was quoted as saying, “I clearly remember that interaction. It was his first video interview. I wouldn’t say he was naive but rather innocent and soft-spoken. Though a little shy in front of the camera, the boy was very confident without being a show-off.”

Tom Alter, who received the Padma Shri in 2008, was last seen in Sargoshiyan this year with Alok Nath and Farida Jalal. He is survived by his wife Carol, son Jamie and daughter Afshaan.

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