The Telegraph
Monday, December 18, 2017

Engineer: No place for match-fixers in cricket

First published on 27-Oct-2015
Farokh Engineer

Calcutta: If cricket had a glamour boy in the '60s and '70s, it was undoubtedly Farokh Engineer. From being a Brylcreem model to the heartthrob who drew ladies to the cricket ground, Engineer was certainly special.

And of course, innings like the one he scored against the deadly West Indian attack in erstwhile Madras back in 1966-67, when he made 97 in the pre-lunch session, helped him become a legend in his own right.

One of the first wicketkeepers who was also an aggressive opening bat, Farokh took pride in his achievements.

Asked who he considered to be the best Indian wicketkeeper, Farokh said with a wink: "You are looking at him." Then breaking into a smile, the 77-year-old said: "Well, you have to believe in your own abilities, otherwise no one else will."

In the city as a brand ambassador of London-based law firm Zaiwalla & Co. Solicitors, Farokh interacted with a group of reporters, here, on Monday. The first Indian to play for Lancashire, Farokh is settled in England for almost 50 years, but is deeply aware of the goings on in Indian cricket.

The easy-going demeanour, however, takes a stern turn as soon as the issue of match-fixing arises. "There is no place for match-fixers on the cricket ground. They are letting down their team, and of course harming the game.

"Look at someone like Chris Cairns. Such a fine cricketer, but now people will only remember him for his misdeeds."

Coming to the present Indian team and the debacle they have faced in the ongoing home series against South Africa, he said: "I am sure India will fight back. That will show the grit and determination of the team.

"Yes, they have lost both the T20I and ODI series, the last match rather badly, but I think they can still pull back in the Tests.

He was unwilling to write off Mahendra Singh Dhoni as he said: "Dhoni has done a good job so far. I like him. He reminds me of my younger days. He has served the country very well... He should be the one to decide when he wants to quit."

Asked whether Test captain Virat Kohli was ready to become captain across all formats, he said: "Kohli is a fantastic cricketer and deserves to be captain. But we need to give him time. We also need to persevere the talent we have."

Farokh believes that in all formats, a wicketkeeper has to concentrate on the ball. He said: "One must primarily be the 'keeper and if he can score, that should be a plus for the team. I was, however, very aggressive. I would have loved to play the IPL."

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