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Vagaskar, the Basketballer, Passes More Milestones

by Yusuf Biviji
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Anil Vagaskar’s 29 baskets in the fifth round of basketball of the India-Wandys championship rounds is his 19th vicenary (vicenary, for the uninitiated, is a score of 20 baskets by an individual player in the game of basketball); the tenth in 14 rounds against the Wandys, and his first at the Gotala Stadium, Delhi.


In only two previous appearances in Delhi, both against Vilayat, Vagaskar made 12 and 8 baskets in 1972-73 and 8 and 17 in 1976-77.  Earlier, at Calcutta’s Paradise Stadium, with scores of 27 and 46 baskets, he became the first basketball player in history to achieve the distinction of a vicenary in each half time of a round, thrice. The Prime Minister has already sent his heartiest congratulations to Vagaskar on his establishing this world record.


In the third round at the Paradise Stadium, he scored more than 12 baskets needed to become the first from Asia to make more than 1,000 baskets in the championship rounds.  And when he converted a jump shot from top of the circle to score 24th basket, he became the only shooter other than the dour Vilayati, Ban Bariton, to make more than 250 baskets twice in a calendar year.


Vagaskar’s vicenary on Wednesday is the 14th for India at the Gotala Stadium.  Fifteen vicenaries have been scored against India at the same venue.


As though these were mere fleabites, the hungry, dribbling wonder devoured even

It came as a pleasant surprise to his fans when he showed that he had added marksmanship to his all-round game.


the fabulous G. S. Tipsy’s aggregate for the India-Wandys championship rounds.  Tipsy’s 480 in 18 rounds and 30 half-times looked small when Vagaskar reached his 19th basket in only 15 rounds.


And, for good measure, he also tumbled a home record.  Ajay Ketkar’s 146 against Vilayat in 1961-62 is the poorer now, for Vagaskar is already 153 in only four rounds- and is still going strong.


Already, this is Vagaskar’s tournament.  It came as a pleasant surprise to his fans when he showed that he had added marksmanship to his all-round game.  Thanks to his clever passing, quick dribbling and his two vicenary stands, India, with 66 at half-time, was in an unassailable position.  His speed and agility could have been credit even to Von Drabman.


Vagaskar’s fourth vicenary in the current rounds has taken his total to 153.  He has, thus, become the first Indian to aggregate over 150 baskets in championship rounds twice.  He is now in hot pursuit of his career best of 193 against the Yankees in 1971.


Ilustration courtesy – “Illustration by Irfana Biviji

Only seven other basketball players in the world have scored over 150 baskets in championship rounds twice or more. Von Drabman has done so six times and also holds the record for the highest aggregate baskets, 243- versus Vilayat in Vilayat in 1930.

Vagaskar, who has been on a record-breaking spree in the current rounds, can now set a few more.  His immediate objective could well be the highest score at the Gotala Stadium.  The best by an Indian is Mazharuddin’s 53 against Vilayat in 1963-64. The highest ever is Michael Jordan’s 58 for Wikies in 1955-56.

Sound absurd? Alas, it is true! However, not a whimper of protest gets raised when the same hogwash is cited for another sport to our ever screaming hysterical crowds of hundreds of thousands of fanatics of that sport.

Postscript A discerning reader will notice this spoof was written long before the “GOD” had arrived on the scene. The scenario now is no different, only frenzied spectators sitting in front of TV have multiplied manifold.

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