Cricket World Cup Thread
Posted 26 April 2003 - 12:06 AM
Posted 30 April 2003 - 01:41 PM
There must be something wrong with the world if the best rap singer is white, the best golfer is black, the Masters champion is a left hander, and Germany refuses to fight a war - Anon.
Light on changing paradigms in sport, music and life is shed in this message (SMS) on the cellphone. It should set us thinking as a fast-changing world challenges established thinking and ancient prototypes.
Mark Weir's victory in Augusta, Georgia which is only the second by a left hander in a golf major illustrates the fact that there is no such thing as a universal ideal in sport. ''We're a minority group, you know,'' said the 1983 British Open champion Bob Charles in a light-hearted reference to how one more such person, Weir, had made his presence felt in the Masters.
The southpaws, to borrow a boxing term, have come to stay as we well know in cricket where some of the best players have done things the wrong way for a long time. Is not Garry Sobers the best ever all-round cricketer to breathe on this planet? Of the moderns, Wasim Akram has some such claim to left-handed greatness.
Brian Lara averages close to 50 against the Australians which is not something too many of the seven above him in current international Test ratings have managed. Since three of them, Hayden, Gilchrist and Ponting are Aussies, the list is pretty small.
Hayden lost the top rating only because of his twin failure in the first Test in the Caribbean. Before that, he had a remarkable run that began in India where he came with a batting average below 25 and a confidence level like that of a cornered stag. Gilchrist is a remarkable left-hander who has changed the very pattern of batting not only in one-day internationals where his type of aggression has always found rich reward at the top of the order.
Even Don Bradman spoke in awe of a couple of innings by left-handers - the 254 by Sobers for rest of the world against Dennis 'the menace' Lillee & Co. in Perth in 1970-71 and the 274 by Graeme Pollock against Bill Lawry's Australians at Kingsmead in 1969-70. For instinctive striking and sheer savagery, Sobers' knock is thought to have few equals while Pollock is known to have celebrated the art of batting in a polished innings in which he did not once hit the ball in the air.
It is only in the rating for bowlers that one has to go way down to spot a left-armer. Of course, after his wonderful World Cup in which he was the leading wicket-taker, Chaminda Vaas figures in the top five in one-day bowlers. And who can question Akram's credentials when he is the only bowler with over 500 ODI wickets to his name plus a handy 414 in Test cricket?
In Test ratings, the emerging Zaheer Khan lies a lowly 12 but he is one for the future and who figured prominently in India's Test series win over the West Indies.
Where cricket has suffered most is in the matter of left arm spinners. They are an endangered species, not because captains have for some reason gone off them for unstated strategic reasons. Just no one has been good enough to keep his place in either variety of the game save for the recent rise of Brad Hogg who bowls the chinaman and the flipper with a brave and smiling face. It was not always like this. The loquacious Bishen Bedi was a master in the art of floating left arm orthodox spin in whom the English saw the new Wilfred Rhodes.
My daughter, fresh from her learning days in Pilani, once proclaimed proudly in her T-shirt slogan that 'Winners don't do different things. They do things differently.' The same can be said of left-handers who have always lent a different dimension to the world 'grace'. Say the word and the mind conjures a vision of the light-haired David Gower caressing the ball through the covers, of Bedi's flighted spin, of Sobers' lofted drives off the back foot.
The writer is the India Correspondent of The Cricketer International and the Wisden Cricketers' Almanack
I'm a lefthander too.
Posted 30 April 2003 - 01:54 PM
Lefties certainly change the scope of things in cricket. I think it has to do with the angle of attack from a right handed bowler coming over the wicket.
When I started to play cricket (in my thirties), I had a real hard time (trying to hit like in baseball) the right arm being for power and not control. then I switched to leftie and was never clean bowled in the rest of my playing years! Bizzare! Didn't have quite the power, but the right arm at least kept the bat more or less vertical in front of the stumps. If the opposition went to a slow/spinner I'd switch back to righty and have a slog.
BTW what's the book on the next test WI v OZ?
Posted 30 April 2003 - 02:09 PM
Maybe, but I'm not so sure myself.
I'd rate this Australian team as the greatest of all time.
Nobody is indispensable, and that includes Warne and Bevan.
Posted 30 April 2003 - 03:07 PM
I was thinking about that some weeks ago. My first instinct would be that the current Ozzie team would prevail. I checked out the stats for some players on both sides. The Ozzies are rather better on batting, but the Windies were comfortably better at bowling. Still, that's life.
However, I expect the Windies will by crushed by the Aussies in the third test as per usual.
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