Thursday, November 15, 2018



                                            ( With his wife,... Marriage Photo1960 )

He was the umpire of some Ranji Trophy matches that were played in Srinagar in early seventies of the last century . People in Kashmir remember him as a bulky gentleman who later proved to be a firm and fair umpire that test cricket ever saw . It was a great surprise for us to learn that he was a Kashmiri and born in Srinagar .
As per Dr B N Sharga ( writer from Lucknow ):-
" Swroop Kishen's grandfather Pandit Sham Kishen Revoo had moved to Lucknow from Srinagar city after he married a girl from a Kashmiri family of Lucknow. Through this marriage, one son and three daughters were born to Pandit Sham Kishen Revoo. Swroop Kishen's grandfather never lost contact with his Srinagar relations . Swroop Kishen's father (Tej Kishen Revoo ) served in Indian Railways and was posted at New Delhi ..After some time, Sham Kishen Revoo , grand father of Swroop Kishen Revoo also moved to Delhi to live with his son Tej Kishen . Tej Kishen had built a new house at Bazar Sita Ram, Delhi . From Delhi , the family maintained close contacts with their Srinagar relations . Swroop Kishen was born in the family's ancestral house in Srinagar city . Swroop Kishen's mother was from Kashmiri Pandit ( Zadoo ) family . In 1960, Swaroop Kishen Revoo married Sunita Handoo , a Kashmiri Pandit girl .. He had three sons Sanjeev, Sunil, and Susheel.." 
Swroop Kishen did his schooling in Delhi and finally graduated in Law from Delhi University . While studying at Delhi University , he played cricket and later did a professional course for umpiring. He served as Accounts Officer in Accountant General’s Office ,New Delhi . 
In Ranji Trophy matches that were played in Kashmir, we saw cricketer Abdul Rauf talking to him with respect and regard. He umpired the match that saw Bishen Singh Bedi being made desperate by stylish hitter Abdul Rauf who scored 98 hitting Bedi several times towards the boundary.
Sometime in 1977 , he was selected for international umpiring and the first assignment in this area came to him in 1978.. He was always held in high esteem by players for his firm and fair decisions . In various interviews , Pakistani cricketer Zaheer Abbas has spoken high about his decisions and integrity. He was possibly chosen as umpire for more than 15 test matches . The Kolkata Test Match that he umpired had 4 lakh spectators . He finds mention in "The Men in White Coats (1987) " , Teresa McLean' s book on umpires and umpiring. In his book ‘Runs n Ruins’, Gavaskar calls Swaroop Kishen and Gothoskar the two best Indian umpires. Gavaskar has again showered praises on him in his foreword to the book ‘The Burning Finger’. Gavaskar writes , ‘ If only Mr Swaroop Kishan had been the umpire in my last Test innings, perhaps the story of that Test would have been different’.
He umpired many crucial test matches where Gavaskar and Kapil Dev created cricket history . Once he had to scold Imran Khan for trying to tamper with the ball. His decision in appeal against Desmond Haynes for handling the ball is a cricket history . He had a great sense of humour that he silently displayed on field as well.
Capt. S K Tickoo told me this about Swaroop Kishen :-
“ He too had moved to Delhi much earlier and he could barely converse in Kashmiri. Once , I asked him if he could recollect where he originally belonged to, 'Batayar'- he replied without batting an eyelid. He was in Sringar on an umpiring assignment and we had arranged his stay at Hotel Jehangir. Cricket was not economically the same then and we the JKCA as the hosts were even poorer and Swaroop Kishen never complained .We took him to Batayar one day and he was given a very warm welcome in that neighbourhood. I think he met some near/distant cousins too..”
Ranji Trophy cricketer player , Harish Bahri told me this :-
“A thorough gentleman with a lot of humour .He would get well with players. He was known for giving corrective tips to the players. One such incident I would like to share. We had a very potential fast bowler Mr. Ved Kashyap ( popularly known as Buggi ) in our team who used to chuck the bowl in between his bowling...and that off cutter would be unplayable. Sawroop Ji noticed that and advised him to wear full sleeve shirt rolled down to the wrists. Thereafter, he bowled successfully without anyone’s objection. Another tip which he gave to me while fielding in slip and in short leg. That particular tip helped me to take difficult catches at ease on the spinner’s bowling ...especially on Mohi ud din Mirza’s bowling in short leg and in gully positions. I never hesitated to ask him for guidance in batting against the opponent bowlers. He was a non speaking Kashmiri from Lucknow educated in Delhi who enjoyed chewing tobacco pan . A great human being a great umpire who enjoyed great respect among the cricketing nations. His decision would rarely go wrong. I have many more memories of him but here I conclude on a lighter note... once Visiting team captain said, ‘ we can do away without the side screen when Mr. Sawroop is umpiring ‘ . ”
Swroop Kishen was a perfect cook. He loved Roganjosh and Yakhni that he cooked so well. He chewed tobacco ,a bad habit that became the cause of his cancer. Awarded Padamshri for his services to the cricket , he died of cancer at a comparatively young age of 62 .
( Avtar Mota )

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