Monday, Dec 05, 2022

India vs Australia: What we don’t know about Matt Renshaw

In the stands in Bangalore are Ian and Alison Renshaw, parents of Matt Renshaw, who hit the headlines for having to "retire ill" in Pune.

india vs australia, ind vs aus, india australia 2nd test, ind vs aus second test, india australia 2nd test, matt renshaw, renshaw australia, australia cricket, cricket news, sports news Matt Renshaw, at 20 years old, has looked impressive in the first two Tests of the series. (Source: Facebook)

As you read this, cricket reporters will be slaving away to explain what happened on the first day of the second Test match between India and Australia in Bangalore. Sunday’s sports pages will tell you that India’s batting prowess lies in tatters after Virat Kohli’s boys crumbled for the third time in three innings for a below-200 score.

They will tell you that the second new ball is still safe with the fourth umpire in this series, the Indians having batted 40.1 overs, 33.5 overs, and 71.2 overs respectively.

They will tell you that their spinners have pirouetted on pitches where ours were meant to prance, bagging 26 of the 30 wickets, making a mockery of our ability to play spin.

And they will ask, softly, very softly, if Twenty20 cricket has ruined our stomach for a full five-day joust, where you try to win a session and then another, and then one more.

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These are very obvious things and are apparent to anybody who switches on StarSports, in high definition or low, in English or in Hindi.

Or reads ESPNCricinfo.

What is never so obvious in the gung-ho, nationalistic, Bharat-Mata-ki-Jai, one-day ‘Mataram’ commentary is that there is another side in this series, not just ours.

It is called Australia.

They have a new captain too.

They have players, old and new.

They have personal hopes, dreams, aspirations, ambitions.

They have team goals, grudges, objectives, strategies.

They too want to win.

This, too, seems blazingly obvious, but it is not always so when there are always grease-painted, flag-wagging kambhakts shouting “In-di-yaah, In-di-yaah” when ‘INS India’ is floundering at the intersection of Queen’s Road and Mahatma Gandhi Road.


We got a sobering view of the “other” side from the “P-1 Annexe” stand at the Chinnaswamy Stadium, where we watched Day One in the company of Ian and Alison Renshaw, parents of the young Australian opener Matthew Renshaw, who hit the headlines for having to “retire ill” to go to the loo in the first Test in Poona.

# We learnt that the Renshaws (both from England) teach sports medicine and maths, and that they barely got leave from work to come and see this Test.

# We learnt that they gave Matthew the middle name “Thomas” just in case he had to play for England, where this kind of poshness still has some charm.


# We learnt they live in Brisbane, where the family went around in a Hyundai Getz, till Matthew’s cricket enabled him to buy a Mercedes.

# We learnt Matthew was just a little over five feet till he was 17 but has grown by more than a foot and more in the last three years.

# We learnt how he has had to lose four kilos in preparation for the India series by going on a no-carb diet, with Allan Border the tough ringmaster.


But what we got to see (and appreciate) up-close was the anxiety of the parents and their desire to see their young son succeed—with at least 25,000 people in front of them in the stadium and countless others in front of televisions, hoping he wouldn’t.

When Matthew came out to bat after India fell for 189 and opened his account, you could have heard Ian Renshaw’s “phew” from any part of the stadium, if only you had tried.


But it was the mother—like in India a huge influence in the growth of good cricketers in Australia—who showed us the full panoply of emotions at play.

As Matthew rushed back in to pad up after the end of the India innings, Alison rushed out to freshen up and get ready and take her own guard at seat I-17 in “P-1 Annexe”.

Hands over mouth, she was in silent prayer.


She was in the sleeveless red-and-white top that Matt apparently feels is auspicious and which he wants her to wear whenever he is batting.

(If he hadn’t got a chance to bat today, Alison would have washed it in the Ritz Carlton tonight and worn it afresh on the ‘morrow.)


She crossed her left leg over her right and did not move once in all the 16 overs Australia faced till draw of stumps, her boy facing 47 of those deliveries for 15 unbeaten runs.

She didn’t change her position when a couple of precocious Bangalore birds went past her to make an early exit out of the stadium to avoid the usual Chinnaswamy post-match traffic chaos.

When the whole stadium roared in excitement as Ravindra Jadeja warmed up to bowl towards the close of play, there were only two people who were praying the clock would strike 4.30 before that and the umpires would pull out the bails.

This was Matthew Renshaw’s parents.

On an other day, it could have been K.L. Rahul’s or Karun Nair’s.

In an other era, it could have been Rahul Dravid’s or Anil Kumble’s.

If Matthew Thomas Renshaw scores a 50 or a 100 tomorrow, we will be there to cheer him with Ian and Alison. And if he doesn’t, we will be there to commiserate.

Either way, he has a small gift coming his way from us.

Matt, all of 20 years old, is studying journalism so that he learns some skills outside cricket and I know just the thing to give an Australian who wants to get into what Gabriel Garcia Marquez called “God’s chosen profession”.

If you don’t count Rupert Murdoch, that is.

(Disclaimer: This first appeared on Krishna Prasad’s Facebook page)

First published on: 05-03-2017 at 11:08:32 am
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