Sunday, February 12, 2012

Attributes for Batsmen!

The other day I heard someone say that Sachin's batting was all class. I beg to differ. He is definitely in a class of his own, but class is not the defining element of his batsmanship or the cricketer he is. The word I like to use for him is Genius. That is the attribute his entire being is impregnated with. What with the paddle sweeps, upper-cuts, compact strokeplay, all the engineered repertoire of shots or even spin bowling turning miles together for that matter. He can do things with a cricket bat that few others could dare venture into. He can play 5 shots in a space of 15 minutes that will leave you gasping in awe and just make facial expressions without saying much. But he is a Genius in my book. The word Class fits easier on some other batsman.
Now if you are really interested you may ask what is the adjective i'd use for say KP. He is no class (remember I dont mean to say he is not classy, just that he is not described bythis word) and not even a genius. His switch hit does not quite fall under that category. People use the word unorthodox for him but what would you then se for say a Gilchrist. KP is more than just unorthodox. He is a maverick. He just wants to do it his way. Thats about it. Now what would you call Jacques Kallis. I would give him the sobriquet "The Stylish Workman". Workman, huh? Blasphemy. The guy with the best aggregate all round numbers in the game (runs/wickets/catches) is called a workman and thats not even considering his awesomely elegant stand-and-deliver cover drive. But did you quite miss the word stylish there. He does not look ungainly - not my a mile. But he is an honorable workman. He will keep on stealing those singles and suddenly look like 45 n.o. I hear a few murmurs that Rahul Dravid is slow too. The thing is, I did not say Kallis was slow. I said he liked to accumulate. Dravid would rather leave it alone while Kallis might nudge it though the off side field forthe single. While they have scored almost equal number of runs, Dravid has hit 1654 boundaries(4) to Kallis' 1359. Thats about it. Dravid has hit about 300 more boundaries (4s) than Kallis in Tests. He is expected to leave a few on the trot and suddenly unleash a flurry of boundaries quickly. Kallis on the other hand would give you a feel for every boundary. If he hits 3 boundaries in 2 overs, I would get a feeling of much more drama. He looks good at the crease definitely. Then there is his teammate ABD. All flair and exuberance. The bend of the knees in his cover drive and lofted strikes with the handkerchief(spello?) tucked in his trousers, makes you feel just that. The same is with his catching. But then what would I say for Ricky Ponting. He definitely has flair and exuberance but so do ABD and also did Lara (well Lara had a lot much more than just that agreed and is the greatest). But Ponting is in my book an electric champion. He is electric quick in whatever he does - talk, walk, run, catch, field, initial bat speed, swift pulls, cover drives and he scores at a quick clip as well. But what I mean by electric here is that he that fraction quicker than the rest which matters all. He is likely to effect a quick run out or take that out-of-nowhere game changing catch or play a quick long innings to demoralise the opposition like in the 2003 WC finals. Then he is very tough mentally and does not give an inch on the field but is quick to praise the opposition if they deserve. He plays it hard and fair and is a leader of men. And he wins matches too. All the attributes of a champion. But the post had started on the note of Genius vs Class and I remarked then that there is a batsman on whom the word Class finds its meaning like it was ever brought into language for just that. And that cricketer in my opinion is Rahul Dravid. I can write an essay on his class, but its some other day's job.

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