Dubai: Surinder Khanna was the undoubtable the star of the inaugural Asia Cup which was held in Sharjah in 1984.
The Delhi-born wicketkeeper-batsman played pivotal roles in India’s two wins over Sir Lanka and Pakistan to ensure that they went home with the prestigious trophy.
Khanna did not have a long cricketing career, but in the five years between 1979 and 1984 that he was active in both domestic cricket for Delhi, and the 50-over version for India, where he played 10 One Day Internationals, he would make his mark.
Perhaps he saved his best for Sharjah where he won back-to-back Man of the Match awards, when representing a star-studded India that also featured greats such as Dilip Vengsarkar, Sunil Gavaskar, Sandeep Patil, Ravi Shastri and Madan Lal.
Opening the innings alongside Ghulam Parkar, with Gavaskar, the soon to be record-breaking opener coming in at two-down, Khanna dominated the Sri Lankan bowling with an unbeaten 51 to give India a rousing 10-wicket victory in the first round-robin match.
Sri Lanka had been restricted to a total of 96 runs all out in 41 overs, a target that Khanna and Ghulam (32 not out), comfortably chased down before a sell-out crowd at the iconic stadium.
Khanna would continue from where he left off against the hapless Sri Lankans to anchor India’s total of 188 for four against a strong Pakistan bowling attack led by Sarfraz Nawaz and anchored by the spinning genius, Abdul Qadir.
Patil shored up the inning with a live knock of 43 while Gavaskar hit an unbeaten 36.
Khanna would then don his wicketkeeper gloves and produced two outstanding stumpings to help dismiss arch-rivals Pakistan for 134 and gift India the trophy.