Navjot Singh Sidhu turns 54 on Friday. He may now be known more as a politician and television personality, but Sidhu was once a batting mainstay in the Indian team. He made his debut in 1983 when India hosted West Indies. The series itself was a bit of a disaster for India with all matches either being drawn or won by West Indies. According to Cricinfo, Sidhu was branded as a ‘strokeless wonder’ and dropped soon.
But he made his comeback in 1987 when he was called up for the 1987 World Cup. He started off with four fifties on the trot with every innings involving some audacious big shots. Sidhu went on to show that he is an effective batsman in Tests and ODIs. He was especially good against spinners, although the only double century he has in his Test career came against a West Indies side that included the likes of Curtly Ambrose and Courtney Walsh. He smashed four fifties in five innings against Australia in 1997-98 with Shane Warne bearing the brunt of his aggression. By the time he retired in 1999, Sidhu had amassed 3202 runs in 51 Tests and 4413 runs in 136 ODIs.
After retirement, Sidhu became a regular in the commentary box and has been known for his unique use of cliches and metaphors. His one-liners have gone on to be known as ‘Sidhuisms’ and he has since also launched a political career. Sidhu is now a minister in Captain Amarinder Singh’s government in Punjab.