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Sight Screen

Friday, June 17, 2005

Dil se... Bajji

On a day when Saurav Ganguly finally got to tuck in (56 not out off 82 balls)to the run feast that is the match between Middlesex and Glamorgan and Dinesh Mongia (36 off 47) blotted his copybook just a touch in the Leicestershire-Worcestershire game at Grace Road, Harbhajan appears to have cornered the kudos, in the British press, for a second straight day.
Reporting on Surrey's innings win over the Shane Warne-led Hampshire at the Rose Bowl, The Telegraph is particularly effusive:
Second time round, they were drummed out for 160 in 33.3 overs, the hot overcast conditions proving far more conducive to bowling than batting and Harbhajan Singh, who swept Hampshire away in the first innings once again proved a force majeure.
He coaxed John Crawley, who batted with a singular show of defiance for 67, into a reckless charge down the wicket then pulled off two brilliant diving catches at deep midwicket, which he said afterwards, with a touch of wryness, rated as two of the least impressive catches of his career.
His stranglehold over hapless batsmen gave Akram, bowling at the other end, a free rein to force errors and the opposition obliged, though Rikki Clarke's aircraft-carrier hands pouched another dazzling catch in the slips to send Greg Lamb packing, as the last rites were administered.
For sheer entertainment, there was little to beat Singh's all-round enthusiasm for his new club, which he says is a genuine response to the support Surrey showed while his doosra was being put through the mill by the International Cricket Council and more recently, when he was struggling with injury.

I'd have thought an analysis of 8-1-47-2 did not really qualify as 'stranglehold on hapless batsmen' -- but that's the thing, what you extrapolate from a scorecard could be vastly different from what a guy at ringside sees.
Bajji is winning hearts simply by being himself -- warm, genuine, and friendly almost to a fault. He has a knack for saying the right thing at the right time, and the Telegraph story has an exemplar:
"Surrey supported me all the way by waiting for me and that means a lot," he said. "All those bad times, they were very supportive so I am giving something back. I think it was worth the wait."

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