It’s been so long since the last time I wrote that I was worried I might have forgotten how to write. I have been away from home, but no matter where I am, I can never be away from the game of cricket. It’s been tremendous last 8 months for the game of cricket. Thought I will re start my blog innings by noting down a few general points:
1) Gautam Gambhir has emerged as India’s most important batsman in all forms of the game. He was brilliant against the Australians, but it was his innings in Napier which made people round the world sit up and notice him. For two whole days the Kiwis kept bowling at him and for two days Gambhir kept blocking. This was defensive batsmanship at its very best, comparable to Atherton’s 185 at the Wanderers. Gambhir was always considered a handy limited overs player but with this one innings he announced his arrival among the major batsman of the world. It will be Indian cricket’s major loss if Gauti doesn’t end up among the best batsmen in the world when he finishes.
2) Watching VVS Lakshman bat remains one of the most delightful activities that one can indulge in. Lakshman had a tremendous series against Australia and followed it up with another great effort in New Zealand. His hundred in Napier was a treat to the eyes. The last 50 runs were full of outstanding strokes. Watching Lakshman bat is like watching Madhuri Dixit dance………..It is beautiful, it is classical and yet unorthodox enough to arouse you.. There cannot be a more elegant player in the world and there cannot be a player in world cricket who makes batting such a wonderful art.
3) For the last one year, I have been fortunate enough to listen to BBC’s test match special converge. It has been a pleasure listening to Jonathan Agnew and company, who obviously love cricket as much as anybody. Listening to TMS has been a welcome relief since the commentators paint the perfect picture of cricket and you actually enjoy following the game even though you are not watching it. Particularly as, of late cricket commentators in India have become marketing agents. Somebody please tell Ravi Shashtri that he can shout as much as he wants but the people of the entire world are not going to end up watching twenty twenty cricket game in South Africa. And the last time I checked, the MCC rule book stated that if the ball crossed the boundary on the full it is a six- not a DLF maximum. And everytime the bowler hits the stumps, it is a wicket- not a city moment of success. The IPL coverage was such a sham that I had to switch of the television many a times in disgust.
4) But the IPL also produced some good cricket. My beloved Deccan Chargers were led magnificently by Adam Gilchrist and went on to win the second edition. And like the first edition, there were plenty of players who caught one’s eye. Manish Pandey played two gorgeous innings for Bangalore and hopefully we should be hearing a lot more from this youngster. Shadab Jakati bowled magnificently for Chennai, Pragyan Ohjha was the man of the series for me, Rohit Sharma continued his progress and Suresh Raina indicated that he could perhaps dominate the world stage for the next year or so. All in all the future of Indian cricket continues to be rosy.
5) The Indian winter saw four outstanding test matches played, three against Australia at Bangalore, Mohali and Nagpur and one absolute classic against England at Chennai. For all the noise that T20 makes, there is nothing better than an evenly contested test match. South Africa and Australia were also involved in two absolute thrillers and I cannot wait for the Ashes to start.
6) Virender Sehwag continues to be the most destructive and thrilling batsmen in world cricket. His 83 in Chennai was perhaps the finest counter attack seen from a top order batsman in test match cricket this decade. Else where the world saw Saurav Ganguly cover driving for the last time in a test match field. Anil Kumble said good bye too and it was unreal to see an Indian test match team sheet without these two names.
Lots more to write and discuss………. But that will be later.