World has never seen a bowler like him again. It is said that when he bowled , the batsmen had just two scoring options: Nil and Negligible. His contemporary players tell that during the practice session , he used to put a coin on the pitch and would practice it hitting with every delivery.
Rameshchandra Gangaram Nadkarni alias Bapu Nadkarni was a nightmare to the batsmen.He would bowl with unerring line and length which would make scoring runs almost impossible. He had an unbelievable career economy rate of 1.67 runs per over.Had One Day Cricket began at his time , he would have been the most demanded player of the world.
Nadkarni was a niggard bowler. Cricket has not seen such a cricketer since he called it a day. In the 1960-61 series against Pakistan , his bowling figures were 32-24-23-0 at Kanpur.He followed it up with the figures of 34-24-24-1 at delhi. He gave Test Cricket its finest display of controlled bowling against England at Madras in 1964 when he sent down successive maiden over with the ultimate figures of 32-27-5-0.He bowled a record 131 dot balls in row when the batsmen at the other end were the greats of cricket—Ken Barrington and Brian Bolus.
He produced his career best figures of 6/43 at Wellington to help Bharat win. On return , he retired from first class cricket.
When a bowler thinks about the art of bowling , Nadakarni appears as the ultimate artiste.
Nirmal Joshi (Courtesy: Wah Bharat)