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Sight Screen

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Celebrating Saurav

The other day, I was browsing through my collection of cricket DVDs... and among the ones I fast-forwarded to, pausing occasionally to savor a moment, was the compilation of the 1999 World Cup.
May 26, 1999 -- remember? Saurav and Rahul co-authored the annihilation of Sri Lanka, at Taunton. And -- I was doing live commentary for the games -- the most magical moment in a game infused with magic was Saurav's assault on Muthaiah Muralitharan.
It was kind of wierd -- off the first or second ball of one particular over, I remember telling Faisal, okay, here goes, Saurav's either going to clout Murali out of the park, or get out. A ball later, Saurav came dancing down to hit the first of an array of amazing big hits.
How'd you know, Faisal asked. Was no trick to it, really -- the first couple of balls, you saw Saurav, even before Murali delivered, flexing that front knee, a clear indicator that he was shaping for a charge.
Murali would have spotted that, too -- the real magic of that assault was that Murali knew what Ganguly was going to do, and yet was powerless to stop him.
I think this is what I miss most -- Ganguly the big-hitter, with that deft little shimmy down the track, and the seemingly effortless hoist that sent the ball way back into the stands.
Been a while since we have seen that. Been a while, come to think of it, since we've seen Saurav pull off that other favorite shot -- the square cut, that he in his pomp repeatedly played through, over, under, and past point.
His square cutting skills show up in this piece by S Rajesh, on Cricinfo, about the top notch cutters of the game -- nice series, this.

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