Friday, April 16, 2004

Well done.. Naidu!

12 wickets at the strike rate of 53 and a economy rate of 3.48 does not convey the true value of Lakshmipathy "Naidu" Balaji's performance in this series. He should be everybody's choice of the "Bowler of the series", if not the "Man of the series". But, IMHO, four balls this morning dropped the "Golden Ball" a foot away from Balaji in the general direction of Kumble who gleefully accepted it.

15.3 Balaji to Kamran Akmal, FOUR, good length delivery outside the off stump, Kamran Akmal tries to pull his bat away but the ball takes the edge and goes behind, just past the diving Laxman at second slip, was a hard chance but should go down as a DROP

19.5 Balaji to Yasir Hameed, no run, dropped! pitched up outside the off stump, driven away to the point region, Tendulkar dives well to his left but is not able to hold on to it, hard chance but another strike in the "DROPPED" column

21.6 Balaji to Inzamam-ul-Haq, no run, goodness me! another catch dropped! superb delivery on the middle and off stump line, Inzi pushes at it and gets a thick edge, this time it's Dravid's turn, another easy catch DROPPED at first slip

25.4 Balaji to Yousuf Youhana, one run, believe it or it Yuvraj DROPS another one at point, dives to his left but just couldn't hold on to it

Balaji, the guy everybody picked as their choice of the stock bowler at the commencement of this tour, fought tooth and nail with Pathan (and arguably even upstaged him today) for the strike bowler's tag. And with a few lusty blows intended to plummel Shoiab Akhtar into submission in addition in picking up 12 wickets (the fielders should apologise to him for denying him his maiden five-for) and maintaining a smiling demeanor throughout (mebbe his bone structure leaving him with a smiling expression always ;) ), this unassuming young man from Choolaimedu has perhaps set more than a few Pakistani hearts on fire. He's, in Sanjay Manjrekar's perhaps premature observation, Indian cricket's new poster boy and rightly so, possibly the unlikeliest cult figure in cricket history. Bravo.. Lakshmipathi, Bravo...

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