Wednesday, August 31, 2011

On Rahul Dravid's International T20 debut

What a tragedy it was! 21 balls. 21 balls of Dravid not caring about batting. 21 balls of the bowlers not trying to get him out. His first ball in T20 cricket was delivered by Jade Dernbach. Dravid played it quietly into the offside. His second leapt at him from a length, caught Dravid on the glove and went behind the wicket on the off side for a single. His third, bowled by Stuart Broad was played to cover. On his fourth ball, Dravid tried to swing Broad to leg and missed. Fortunately (or maybe unfortunately) it didn't get him bowled. But Dravid gamely tried again. This time, it went to the short fine leg for a single.

To call the short fine-leg a fielding position is like calling Chris Martin a batsman.
The next 14 deliveries that Dravid faced were from spinners. Of these, he hit one square cut straight to a fielder, stepped out 4 times, slog-swept 6 times and scored quiet singles twice. His first few slogs didn't connect very well, but the last two did. After the last of these (which was his third six in three balls), Cricinfo's commentator had this to say
Patel to Dravid, SIX, Dravid's hit three consecutive sixes. I am pinching myself hard. Ouch. I am not dreaming. Bosh! Another flat nothign ball from Russel Peters, and he sure is getting hurt a real bad here. Slg-swept into the crowd behind midwicket again. 
He was pinching himself because Rahul Dravid (Rahul Dravid!) hit three consecutive sixes. I mean, was this guy not watching? The man was trying to hit pretty much everything for six! So what was the surprise? That a man with 20,000 plus runs against the highest standard of bowling in the world connected well three times in three balls? The surprise could not possibly have been that Dravid tried to hit a six three times in three balls. Dravid was basically trying to hit anything the spinners bowled really hard, hopefully for six. Or was the surprise that an international batsman could hit the ball 80 yards?

The innings ended as horribly as it had flowered. Dravid hit a cover drive but couldn't be bothered to keep it down, and was caught at cover. The man who makes a living playing careful cover drives to carefully chosen length, with full forward strides to genuine pace, was caught at cover on his T20 debut. He's probably never been caught at cover off a seam-up bowler in his first class career, let alone his test career!

I rarely watch T20 games. The last game I watched carefully was the 2010 IPL Final. I watched because Sachin Tendulkar played that game. Having watched that game and now Dravid's batting in this game carefully, I can identify with the macabre fascination people have with watching bad horror movies. It was like watching an idle man trying to throw crumpled paper into a dustbin while sitting on a park bench. If he threw enough balls of crumpled paper, a few of them would eventually get in.

The Rahul Dravid you saw today may have the same passport as the guy who made 146 not out at The Oval, but it was not the same batsman.

I read a description somewhere today that Samit Patel "lured" Ajinkya Rahane out of his crease. Lured? Really?

Here's a very simple statistic to put this into context. Courtney Walsh, who was arguably the worst batsman of his generation survived on average 11 balls per innings (2088 balls faced in 185 innings), and 17 balls per dismissal (61 not outs in 185 innings). If Courtney Walsh batted 10 times, he would have a very good chance of lasting 20 overs. This is how ridiculous it is for a contest between bat and ball to have 11 dismissals over 20 overs. This is the quality of batting that can survive a 20 overs. Just how reckless do you think a batting side has to be to be bowled out in 20 overs like India did?

The only person who is being "lured" in a T20 game is the spectator who comes away believing that he was at the cricket!


  1. Nice...writing and yeah "The only person who is being "lured" in a T20 game is the spectator who comes away believing that he was at the cricket!"..Now, if only I could make this understand to the people lining in for the circus. And they say, they went to watch some cricket.

  2. I dont know why is everyone mourning over his retirement............. guys he is still playing the most lavish and sought after cricket tournament "THE MONEY MAKING IPL"