People said he couldn’t translate his domestic form to international success. People said that he can’t play the short ball. People said that he doesn’t have the temperament for the big stage. Others said he is a player who can hit only local tracks and that’s the reason he has been selected for the Cricket World Cup 2011. Many even said that he can play well only in the IPL. But with two violent centuries in the past 2 months along with a couple of 50s has all but sealed his place in the World Cup team and shut the mouths of his detractors for some time to come. The two centuries couldn’t be more different.
If 123 was against an attack featuring Nathan Mccullum, Vettori, Mackay, Mills and Southee, the 105 was against one of the most potent attacks led by Steyn, Morkel and ably supported by Tsotsobe and Botha. If 123 was on a featherbed track in Chinnaswamy, 105 was on a bouncy and pacy track at Centurion where India had collapsed for 136 all out on the 1st day of the 1st test a month or so ago. If 123 was against a team which was ranked number 7 – 8 in the world who were on a losing spree of 8 consecutive ODIs, the 105 was against the number 2 side who were matching India step for step!
During the knock of 123, he came on the crease when India were in some sort of bother at 188/5 chasing 316 but not completely out of the chase. But during the 105 today, India were staring down the barrel of a humiliation at 60/5 that too in the final billed as the clash of the titans and the biggest match of the series. If he had Saurabh Tiwary on his side during 123, he had Zaheer Khan for company during a 100 run partnership for the 9th wicket.
On both occasions he made the game look like a match straight out of Cricket 2007 on computer. While Zaheer managed to score 13 out of the partnership of 100 run partnership, Tiwary scored 37 out of 133. On both occasions he brought hope for the millions of fans. While today, he couldn’t take us to victory probably for going one shot too many. But he needs to take a bow!
VIOLENCE is what happens when you have fantastic hand eye coordination, brute power and a strong willow! Go Pathan!!