Friday, February 12, 2010

A Reminder of Cricket's Allure

Lately, I have been spending time watching odd cricket games, the scores of which, I may have at best, glanced at in the past, but regardless, it reminded me of why I am so beguiled by the game, which I have joyfully grown up watching. Among the myriad pleasures that cricket offers, watching an innings of elegant and authoritative batsmanship stands desperately close to the perch, if not on it. The game between Kerala and Tamil Nadu in the first round of the Subbhai Pillai Trophy may not have been the most enticing of contests, but it contained an innings of captivating beauty from K.B. Arun Karthik.

With Tamil Nadu, chasing a mere 190 for victory, Karthik walked in to bat after the early loss of opener S. Aniruddha. Having taken his time to settle down, Karthik unleashed a storm of scintillating strokes on either side of the wicket. Assured with the movement of his feet, Karthik drove with consummate and delightful ease through the offside and any delivery erring on the shorter side was dispatched over midwicket with dismissive simplicity.

The size of the target may have had much to do with Karthik’s approach to the innings, but in spite of an efficient spell from Sreesanth, Karthik was supremely poised and in complete control of his bearings throughout his ebullient knock. Left arm spinner P. Prashanth, was treated with particular disdain, as he was hammered in a single over for a six over midwicket and for a brace of boundaries through the same area. Unable to find gaps through conventional means against part time off spinner Rohan Prem, Karthik remained composed and resorted to the scoop behind the wicket keeper, every time the shot was on.

Of all the pretty strokes that he played, a back foot cover drive off Sreesanth to bring up his half century stood out for its immaculate placement and exquisite timing. Having reached his fifty off just forty deliveries, Karthik showcased tremendous temperament in consolidating his innings with the effortlessness of an established professional. Just, when it seemed that the scantiness of the target, may cause Karthik to miss out on a deserved ton, he launched a huge six over long on and followed it up with a sumptuous drive over extra-cover to reach the three figure mark.

Possibly, my eulogies are a touch excessive for an innings played against an almost amateurish Kerala team, but the pleasures that Karthik’s knock invoked in me cannot be ignored. It may not have been an innings of atypical grace or extraordinary authority played against the best of opponents, but it was certainly littered with strokes that were as gorgeous as they were effective. I am not sure what future Karthik has in store for himself in the game, but his century certainly proved a reminder of cricket’s truly alluring charm.


Rahul Saha said...

There is something about 22 men in white pajamas on a field...

Ghanshyam Nair said...

Yup. There's always something extra to be gained watching pitchside as opposed to couchside.
And, as you know, the heavy roller is always the best seat.