Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Seldom have some ones ability to lead stood like beacon of light in the sporting world. Leaders with the charm and charisma and their deeds at getting the most out of their team mates have always captured the imagination of sports lovers.
Maradona, Platini , Zidane , Cryuff in foot ball inpired their nations to some historic triumphs.Maradona was oozing fountain of talent , a miracle at play . Singularly could take his team home on the football field. Cryuff was the brain plotting the strategy before going for the kill. Zidane and Platini , two french stalwarts carried the team along with their individual brilliance.
In cricket many have led a team of extraordinary cricketers. Clive Lloyd , Mike Bearly , Allan Border , Ranatungs , Fleming , Kapil Dev , Ganguly etc but none as yet reached the zenith which Imran Khan and Steve Waugh conquered. A peak scaled by exemplary leadership , leading men , inspiring them to levels of success celebrated in the cricketing history even today.They command a unique platform and abundant respect in world cricket.People listened to their speak with bated breath every time they spoke during their playing days.
Indians were always tepid and often soft or docile when it came to leading from the front on a cricket pitch. The second most successful captain Azhar believed that he dint need to tell much to players competing in an international arena. He made decisions by consensus and some worked at home and most bombed abroad. Sourav Ganguly changed the DNA with his fire brand combative leadership.
Then came along Mahi like a gods gift to (let me say ) World Cricket. His thinking crystal clear , his conviction so unwavering. Steve Waugh was called the iceman. This Singh is getting cooler and that too in a format of criket like T20 where every over is a death decree.
Mahi stands tall with his leadership and could walk into any 11 with his leaderships skills alone. He leads with performance when it counts the most , much like Steve and marshalls his troops with the elan like the great Imran did to the paki under dogs down under. Mahi commands a great deal of respect which was one of the strengths of Steve and Imran.
Like Steve he may not have the best technique but can conquer the oponent with sheer determination and guts .His bat broder and stout like his heart. Watch him at any post match or prematch pressers and you will hardly find Mahi toung tied.
In a short span he has managed to build a world class team while managing legends like Kumbe, Dravid , Ganguly , VVS and Tendulkar. His fringe players like Praveen Kumar and Joginder revel on the sheer faith he reposes. Reputations hardly matter. Ever since he took over the great Tendulkar seems like a burden on team . No one misses Sachin, Dravid or even Zaheer or Bajji.
Which captain would have balls to throw the ball to Joginder Sharma for the last over when the greatest prize in the newest format was to be won aginst Indias greatest sporting enemy Pakistan?
In another era Yuvi would have had temples in his name as the junta would have anointed him a demi god status after the 6 6's he scored last season. For this team under Mahi centuries dont seem to matter. Individual records just a means to win a game. Reputations are only as good as they performance on that day.
Team is winning as a team more often instead of depending on individual brilliance even if the team has on their day superplayers like Gambhir, Sehwag, Yuvi, Irfan , Zaheer , Rohit , Raina or Dhoni himself.
Didnt you see the dreaded debate of opening combinations die a natural death. Those were those days were Indians believed that the only spot Tendulkar played effectively was as a opener. Now the team is experimenting with the slots , allocating each player a distinct role tailored towards the ultimate objective of winning the game. On that day. This naturally give throws open a lot of options and importantly negates the ploy of the opposition teams to decipher the game plan.
Toss always mattered . Even if we dint win the toss the team chase and set a target with out too much to complain. But then Mahender Singh is winning the toss as well as the matches .Often.Both home and away!!!
It wont be long before Mahi is revered like Imran Khan and Steve Waugh as the Indians under him conquer milestones after milstones. I only hope Mahi remains sane always. Cause a rush of blood for a micro minute like Zidane will cost us the loss of an Inspirational Blessing ! A sports which is a religion uniting in the country.
The Deccan Chargers realised this last IPL season. The Royals from Rajastan triumphed by the sledge hammer weilding gladiator. Pathan is a Pathan does !
I grew up as a kid following a cricket demi god called Sir Issac Vivian Alexander Richards. The gum chewing morarch of all he surveyed. Dispatching the cherry with disdain. I still recall the comment of Clive Lloyd those days "It wouldnt surprise me if he hits a yorker for a six" . Such was the legend of Sir Viv. It is almost two decades since we have seen such swagger on the cricketing turf.
There was a Ricardo Powell from the Windies but he flatter to deceive.
Clean shaven , Yes . Taller , Jaw bones chewing Gums ..Yes . Awesome ..Oh YES ...Yusuf Pathan has emerged to the joy of millions of Indian fans with his Brand of Arrogant Cricket with the swagger reminecent to that of Sir Vivian Richards.
Entertainers from yore Gilcrist , Santh , Sehwag, Chris Crains , Freddie , Gayle et al. But none lent the swagger like the punch Yusufs powerplays carries on the cricket field.
Nonchalant , yet mind numbing stroke play that Yusuf unleashes on the hapless bowlers is a sight to behold in the T20 arena for now. Yusuf has a long way to go to match Vivs imperious cover drives and big test hundreds. Sir Viv is quite the czar and young Yusuf is cub with similar bearings. A promise and prospect as a talent quite exciting.
How i wonder about the sporting treatise that we will be preveliged to see if the senior Pathan graduated to the longer version ( I meant 50 overs cricket ) and the 5 day pilgrimage which still enthralls purist till date.
Yusuf is a precious talent to be nurtured. The game need larger than life gladiators , if at all the game needed further fillip ..more the merrier aint it ?
Its coming thick and fast and Indians fans are having a ball. Yet another famous win under a certian yet calm leader inspiring his wards to come up with inspired performance.
Y & I powered India from a spot after the large hearted tweakers from the emerald isles gave the ball a bit more air and a rip to put the men in blue in a spot of bother.Bother yes , until the brothers did a Sanat act in his own back yard.
My heart goes out to the Pathans as they had challenges unlike no other cricket professional from India. The Pathans finding a place in the 11 amongst millions of aspirants from India and that too from a state such as Gujrat where the Muslim minority have a secondary domestic standing , in it self is a tall achievement. And "Boy" when the siblings turn on the powerplay with bat and ball the way they did, it inspired a whole community and a country , a belief instilled that this contry does throw up opportunities for every in this land to play as INDIANS.
Today Team India prides on turning famous wins in Indias favour on the broad sholders of Y & I Pathans and a certian Zaks who is probably the best left arm swing sultan in world cricket today.
As we head towards a brief sojurn to the land of the black caps before going to london to defend the T20 championship it is indeed heartning to see the depth of our skills in this form of the game. There is enough scope for improvement in every department and fielding is the areas with a maximum scope.
For every blinder like the Ishant snatched with a leap there was a sitter which went abegging from Irfans aussi styled catching.
Entertain they did and HOW .To me personally the onslaught of Sanat was a glorious moment to be lapped by every cricket enthusiast. The six over cover with murderous power off a nippy Ishant is worth several miles that i would travel to see. What came next was a stunner on the onside as the pivoting feet swiweled to send the ball soaring into the dancing onside stand. Man this guy Jayasuriya is THE PERFORMER. Hats off.
Even as Y & I , just imagine the other gadiators .Deeds of Bandara, Yuvi , Raina and Dilshan. It take a lions heart to bowl those leggies to mosterous hitters. Its like throwing a million dollar gamble.Gamble it was , with three prime scalps Bandara could well have been the hero had Dilshan given another over to Sanat.
India won , but think about it. The Lankans played a young team resting stalwarts. By running the Indians close they did win more than a few hearts. From my bean bag i was cheering to the Mumbai Indian as well as the men in Blue. Imagine. Oye its T20.