Sunday, June 22, 2008

The wrath of Kali

Satyajit Ray once wrote about the art of making movies (something like the following anyway; even if he didn’t say these exact words, he said something like them, and that’s all that matters for now): “It is not so important to provide excessive detail in order to draw attention to something; one need only pay the right kind of attention, the right kind of contrast; the viewer’s eyes will then be focused on the right spot”. In that spirit, I would like to bring your attention to a little video clip from the Swinging Seventies. I’d meant to pay homage to the innings in question on the 33rd anniversary of its occurrence, but it slipped my mind. Anyway, here is the setting: Australia are playing the West Indies in the first World Cup, and have scored an inadequate 192. The West Indies reply is centered around an explosive 78 by Alvin Kalicharan who scores it off 83 deliveries including 14 fours and a six. It includes this little demolition of Dennis Lillee:
The action in question starts 47 seconds into the video. Kali cuts, drives and hooks Lillee for five fours and a six. The last shot is an amazing hook that sails into the stands. Two of the other shots are hooks as well, each, like the last hook, executed perfectly back over the shoulder, each a lighting quick ‘off-the-eyebrows’ deal. Kali wears a loosely fitting, full-sleeve shirt, top three buttons undone, sleeves rolled up, forearms visible, no helmet, no arm guards, no fancy bulbous pads, no sponsors’ labels on his clothing. His batting stance is upright, elegant and compact. A more dapper cricketing image cannot be conjured up. Lillee steams in at full blast, matching the openness of Kali’s shirt all the way, his long, pre-headband days hair, wavy mustache and powerful delivery leap completing the picture of the express pace bowler. All to no avail, as his fastest deliveries are spanked all over the Oval. That vanished lot, the happy and boisterous Caribbean fan in England, is seen making an appearance; shots tear away to the boundary; young men dance in the stands; all around is the air of something momentous. The pace bowler is the ultimate symbol of cricketing power; no cricketing spectacle provides more drama than its temporary taming. Kalicharan was one of the greatest exponents of the hook shot in the modern era. It was only fitting this particular lesson in playing pace bowling should have featured him, one of the greatest pace bowlers of all time, the hook shot, and no helmets. All on a summer’s day in England.

Australia would exact revenge later that year in the test series Down Under. In ample measure. But this summer day, in London, the Windies showed how fast bowling could be played. The cricket ball remains a very dangerous object in the fast bowler’s hand; it requires skill, of the kind on display in June 1975, to really neutralize that danger.


Blogger Straight Point said...

this illustrate best what i meant when i commented...let the fittest survive...

the technique...the hand eye coordination...everything in sync...

sometimes i wonder how lee's , akthar's & co. would have coped VIV, Kali & co...and their uninhibited but intimidated batting...

8:19 AM  
Blogger Samir Chopra said...

SP: Thats the fun about this sort of armchair speculation; one can endlessly conjure up great battles.

11:18 AM  

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