Wednesday 26 December 2007

The day of Frank Sinatras of Indian cricket

It is almost twenty years since the original 'Frank Sinatra' of Indian cricket played his last test match. Today belonged to the neo 'Frank Sinatras' of Indian cricket.

Playing 100 tests is a great achievement for a any cricketer, by any yardstick. What looked like a distant dream just a year ago, is now a richly deserved reality. For this reason alone, Mohinder Amarnath must be extremely proud of Sourav Ganguly, especially the way he forced his way back into the team. It was pleasing to see Sunil Gavaskar and then Anil Kumble felicitate one of the India's most hotly debated player/captain in recent years, on a fantastic landmark.

And what a comeback has it been for the other Frank Sinatra - Zaheer Khan! He has been ably shouldering the Indian attack ever since his return from a forced exile, again courtesy Chappell and Kiran More combo. As Sunil Gavaskar said in the post match show, Wasim Akram would have been proud of the ball with which he bowled Ricky Ponting. No praise can be higher than that, if you happen to be a left arm fast bowler. Not only did that ball sent the dangerous Ponting back to the hut with almost nothing against his name, it also opened the floodgates for Kumble to barge through.

For Anil Kumble, life has come a full circle. It was in Australia during the 2003 series, that he reinvented himself with a typical Kumbleish spell of 5/154, when Ponting's bat was raining runs in torrents. Up until that series, Kumble had done little noteworthy on an overseas tour, despite having a phenomenal record back home. The Adelaide test changed all that, and since then Jumbo has been a vital cog in most of India's test wins outside India. More importantly, captaincy seems to have renewed his vigour to play test cricket for some more time and made him even more determined. His spell today was a testimony to that.

From the Aussie stand point, standing up to the Indians was the enormous Mathew Hayden, with an unmistakable swagger in his walk. His innings reminded me of Sehwag's in the Melbourne test of 2003 series. India folded out for a paltry 366 after being comfortably placed at 286/3 at one time. Australian innings seems to be treading a similar path. Anil Kumble would dearly hope it does so on remaining days too.

Like on numerous occasions in the past, India's unsung heroes - the bowlers - have delivered on their promise. It is time for their more illustrious team mates to put up their hands and be counted.

The onus is squarely on you gentlemen.

10 comments:

Ottayan said...

CG,

As you pointed out, our batsmen have to deliver.

scorpicity said...

It would have to be very good if they have to deliver on this pitch... but I guess, they should be able to... especially since yuvraj has also been drafted in... With such a tall line-up, they fail to post a good total, then god help them.

Straight Point said...

...and what our batters did...returned the advantage back to aussies on platter...almost saying sorry that we didnt meant to keep it...

its disgusting when more accomplished...illustrious name can all put together only 200 odd runs on board...

Cricket Guru said...

True, SP.

Miracles happen once a while. For India, it happenned twice (Kolkata and Adelaide).

Asking for too much to expect it a third time? :)

Soulberry said...

It is time for their more illustrious team mates to put up their hands and be counted.

The onus is squarely on you gentlemen.


Jimmy Sinatara...so apt for Mohinder. Well done there CG.

Soulberry said...

We could have actually used a bit of his spirit in this match.

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