Remembering Ravi Achan, an all-rounder par excellence

The winning cricket team of the 1st Thrippunithura knockout cricket tournament 1951. P Ravi Achan (4L sitting). Photo: Special Arrangement

Paliath Ravi Achan, who died on Monday night aged 96, was the first-ever Kerala cricketer to reach the landmark of 1,000 runs and 100 wickets in the domestic circuit.

In his personal life too Ravi Achan was a great all-rounder. While being a successful cricketer, he was equally passionate about teaching. Taking time off his busy schedule, he used to conduct English classes for his family members. Apart from being an excellent orator and writer, Ravi Achan was also an exceptional leader and organiser. He was passionate about sharing his cricketing knowledge to motivate young minds.

Although I was initiated into the world of cricket by my father Kelappan Thampuran, my maternal uncle Ravi Achan was our childhood hero. He played for Travancore-Cochin and Kerala for about seventeen years and featured in 55 first-class matches.

Ravi Achan's last first-class game was at the age of 41, and remarkably, his career-best score of 70 came in that match. His best bowling figures of 6 for 34 came against Andhra Pradesh at Guntur in 1960.

Ravi Achan was also an avid Kathakali fan. Being an English language expert, he was a great source of help for art lovers from abroad who used to come to Tripunithura to understand and learn Kathakali. He used to surprise them with his deep knowledge in sports and arts.

Ravi Achan was one of the main organisers of the All-India Pooja Cricket, considered to be the oldest limited-over tournament in the country and perhaps even the world. He used his administrative and organisational skills for the Kathakali Club and the Sangeetha Sabha as well.

A right-hand batter and a right-hand leg spinner, Ravi Achan scored 1,107 runs and pocketed 125 wickets during his first-class career spanning between 1952 and 1970. Although he retired from professional cricket at the age of 50, he continued to play for the local club for several more years. I was fortunate to play alongside him and I always admired his agility and fitness.
(The writer is a former Kerala cricket player and coach)

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