Third T20: A SKY show of a lifetime and other positives

— Atreyo Mukhopadhyay

I was talking to a friend, about the Suryakumar Yadav innings. We were conversing in Bangla. Here is what he told me. “Shuye choy marche, boshe choy marche, dariye choy marche.” Let me translate this. “He is hitting sixes from a position when he is falling, when he is seated and when he is standing.”

Do I say anything more? Actually, I am not in a position to comment on this innings. It was untrue, absolutely bizarre. A wide ball outside off stump is scooped over fine-leg for six. A similar delivery is hit over extra cover for six. A full ball outside off is sliced behind point for a six. One can cut a short ball towards that region. To clear the fence against a full ball behind point is not real. This was an innings one plays once in a lifetime.

It is easy to go gaga over one innings, without taking into account the full context. But when something like this happens, it becomes difficult to not talk about it. It was berserk of the most unexpected kind. The last ball four! What was that? A short ball from the seventh or eighth stump half-pulled, half-flicked behind square-leg? Are we kidding? I do not think we will see anything like this very soon. Maybe, we will rarely will.

In 1938, Stan McCabe of Australia had played an innings of 232 against England at Trent Bridge. It is said that captain Don Bradman had asked the rest of his teammates to come to the pavilion balcony to watch the innings. “You will never see anything like this,” he had reportedly said. I am not comparing the contexts, neither the era, nor the importance. But what SKY did in Rajkot against Sri Lanka was something that we will not see very often.

This was a one-man show. Playing whatever he wanted barring perhaps the straight drive, SKY was batting at an unbelievable level. Not sure if he will play another innings like this. One can say that his efforts are yet to win India an ICC title. At the same time, one cannot but stop marvelling at the absurdity he produced at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium in the outskirts of Rajkot.

I would also like to point out the performances of Rahul Tripathi, Shubman Gill and Axar Patel other than the bowling unit. Tripathi produced the impetus early on by belting 35 off 16 balls. The two straight sixes he hit just before getting out were of fairly good quality. Gill was not as ballistic, but kept rotating strike apart from hitting the timely boundaries. Axar showed why he is being regarded as an option for the all-rounder’s position.

One should also not undermine the role played by the bowlers, although their job was made easier already by SKY. Yes, after no-balls in the previous game, there were far too many wides in the series decider. But the way Arshdeep Singh came back, Umran Malik hit the top of off stump apart from bowling yorkers, Axar and Yuzvendra Chahal outwitted the opposition — there were a lot of positives.

The next T20 World Cup is almost two years away, so no point in pre-empting things. However, a start has been made with a new set of players under a new captain. Invest in them. Give them a fair run. Then decide what to do. There is plenty of potential in this bunch. Chances are high that they will get better if given enough opportunities. Once they get those, let us see.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *