IT WAS 1993, and Sunil Gavaskar and Motganahalli Jaisimha were lounging in a hotel room in Chennai. Two of India’s sporting greats, they came from different generations, but their careers on the Indian cricket team had overlapped for precisely 11 frenetic days in Trinidad and Barbados in 1971, during India’s legendary series victory against a rampant West Indies side. Between Jaisimha’s time and Gavaskar’s, Indian cricket had steadied itself.
The torch had now passed to their successors, and they were free to sit in the groggy afternoon, reminiscing and laughing. With them in the room was a third man, a large but unobtrusive spectator who, from all available evidence, admired them unstintingly. Narayanaswami Srinivasan was 49 years old, and had loved cricket for a great many years. In time, he would come to see this love as a kind of patriotism, and everything he would do for cricket as a form of service to his country.