#4 Mahadevan Sathasivam
Mahadevan Sathasivam, a batsman, unfortunate enough to have been born during the pre-Test era of Sri Lanka, has forever been thrown into limbo, despite his being one of the best batsmen to have ever played cricket.
Dotingly called Satha, Sathasivam hardly played any first-class matches, let alone Test matches. All that is known about his batting prowess are from the mouths of all those who have played cricket alongside him or against him.
The very first memories of Satha was about his knock in Chepauk in Chennai in 1947. He hit a bellicose 215 against South India which was described as the best ever innings played at Chepauk. And Chepauk had already seen innings from Jack Hobbs, Charlie Macartney, Jo Hardstaff, Dennis Compton, Lindsay Hassett, Garry Sobers, C.K. Nayudu, Vijay Hazare and Ren Nailer.
In 1950, he scored 96 out of his team’s 153 against the Commonwealth XI and Frank Worrell, one of the three W’s lead the applause of his team as Satha walked out to the pavilion.
Later, he played against India led by Vijay Merchant, where he amassed 111, enthralling the crowd against bowlers like Amarnath, Banerjee, Mankad, CS Nayudu, Hazare and Modi. At the end of the match, Vijay Merchant paid a visit to the Ceylon dressing room and gifted Satha a stump saying “in appreciation for a really fine innings”.
Vinoo Mankad, who had also bowled against Bradman, in a BBC radio interview said that Sathasivam was the most difficult batsman he had ever bowled to.
The West Indian Frank Worrell also regarded him highly. He once said that if he were to pick a world XI, Sathasivam would be the first choice. Sir Gary Sobers would soon call Satha “the greatest batsman ever on earth”.
But his career hit its end when he was accused of murdering his wife. The lawsuit that gripped the entire nation saw Sathasivam being acquitted. Later, Sathasivam, who had the eyes of a hawk, wrists of a fencer and feet of a dancer, migrated to Malaysia and went on to captain both Malaysia and Singapore.