Calcutta: In one capacity or the other, Dr Ali Bacher would more or less be a permanent fixture at Tests and ODIs involving India in South Africa. This time, he has been at home, in Johannesburg.
Dr Bacher, in fact, was hospitalised on Monday --- the morning after South Africa pocketed the ODIs 4-0 --- for a second bypass. He got discharged on Friday.
“I’ve been very lucky… I’d begun to have pain in the chest during my morning runs and, as it turned out, there was a 95 per cent blockage,” Dr Bacher told The Telegraph.
The 64-year-old’s first bypass was in 1982.
Speaking some 24 hours after returning home, he added: “The doctors don’t anticipate post-surgery complications and are happy with the way I’ve recovered… However, I may not be able to attend an awards function on Wednesday where I’m supposed to talk, among other things, on the great Sachin Tendulkar.”
One option being explored is getting the speech video-recorded a day in advance. A decision should be made on Monday.
If a reminder is needed, Dr Bacher played a stellar role in South Africa’s re-admission to the International Cricket Council, in 1991, and quite a few remain convinced that he (not compatriot Percy Sonn) ought to have been heading the world body at this point in time.
After serving as managing director of the United Cricket Board of South Africa (now Cricket South Africa), Dr Bacher became executive director for the 2003 World Cup, which was fabulously conducted.
In more recent times, he has been involved with rugby and electronics display systems major Stellavista. Besides, fund-raising for Alma Mater Witwatersrand University has kept him busy.
Last year, of course, Dr Bacher had been invited by four of the eight island-nations hosting the 2007 World Cup for “guidance” on conducting the tournament.
A former captain, he felt Rahul Dravid and Co. would do “better” by focusing on the basics.
“If I’m asked to give advice, I’ll only say focus on the basics… Cricket isn’t a complicated game and you’ve got to keep it simple,” Dr Bacher pointed out.
Advised to take it easy for some time, he signed off saying, “India must build on their outing against Rest of South Africa (in Potchefstroom).”
Many of the specialist batsmen flopped in both innings, but the bowlers excelled to force a 96-run win inside three days.
The first Test, in Johannesburg, is from Friday.