November 24, 2009

B.B.O.T.D. - The line up

Little was I aware this day; 24th November is the birthday of many cricketers. Some of the more interesting ones are sharing the honor of bday bums on sloshedcricket. There’s an entire line up, openers, pinch-hitters, all-rounders, spinners, fast bowlers and even crap players! You name it..

Herbert Sutcliffe –

Undoubtedly, the first one to get mention has to be Herbert Sutcliffe, regarded by many as the greatest ever opening batsman. And it is because, he averaged over 60 when he retired from the game. It is not just that he ended up with mind blowing figures but, also because never in his career did his avg drop below 60! Now, that is some achievement. Sutcliffe possessed the most remarkable self-belief: he believed no bowler was capable of dismissing him and this gave him the will to fight in circumstances which daunted others. Sutcliffe's feats compared with Bradman's in numerical terms. Sutcliffe's first-class career batting average of 51.95 (according to Wisden, though Cricinfo claim 52.02) is bettered among batsmen who finished their careers with over 50,000 runs only by Wally Hammond. His Test batting average of 60.73 is the sixth highest overall.

Sir Beefy –

Sir Ian Botham, arguably the best all-rounder from England, perhaps anywhere in the world. Botham called Beefy by his mates, was famous for his activities both on and off the field. Botham was a true all-rounder, he could bludgeon any attack with the bat and take apart any batting line-up with the ball. The sense of his greatness is such that, the 1981 Ashes series is also known as the Botham’s Ashes. During which he amassed 399 runs and also picked up 34 wickets. Needless to say, Botham was adjudged the man of the series. Botham had done more harm by good by making all England believe, as he did, that cricket matches are won by inspiration not preparation. He always tried to be No. 1 - "The competitive edge makes us all tick."

Kalu –

A little bloke called Romesh Kaluwitharana first burst up onto the scene with an unbeaten 132 on debut against Australia in 1992-93. But, it was during the 1996 WC in the cub-continent when Kalu along with Jayasurya were sent up the order to accelerate right at the front. It was very new; the first 15 overs with mandatory field placings helped these two break many clich├ęs and winning Sri Lanka their first world cup, when there was not much expectations from the island side. There were no limits, reputations were meaningless. This pair had put Sri Lanka on the map with their power plays and smart hitting. Undoubtedly, changing the way the game is played. Under the captaincy of Ranatunga, Sri Lanka grew as a cricketing nation. Kalu, however changed his style of play and was eventually replaced with the arrival of Sangakkara.

Neil McKenzie –

McKenzie made his test debut against Sri Lanka as an opener back in 2000 He soon cemented his place in the side as a middle order batsman. During the time when Cullinan and Rhodes were already present, McKenzie had quite easily established himself as a first choice in both versions of the game. But, soon his ability to play long innings, face quality spinners raised up. He was dropped from the side. He eventually did make a return to the national side as an opener, due to the dry run Gibbs was facing. He was involved in a record opening partnership with Graeme Smith for 415 runs. He was also awarded the Wisden cricketer of the year 2009.

Amit Mishra, Ian Butler and Kabir Ali –

Sorry, due to lack of time and considering the length of this post, I will be summarizing the info on these 3 bday bums. Amit Mishra, Indian leggie not a very nice birthday for him, finds himself dropped from the team giving space for Pragyan Ojha. Mishra did pick up a 5 wkt on his test debut against Australia; his debut itself seemed a lot late considering his performances in the domestic Indian league. But, when senior pros Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh are playing for the national side, there is not an inch available for younger prospects. Mishra too has suffered the same in this case.

Ian Butler, Kiwi fast bowler, fairly inexperienced. Made his way into the team due to injuries to first choices and absence of Bond, Tuffey. Impressive lad, 6ft 3in tall, uses his height well, key to any quick bowler. Kiwis always have choices in the bowling dept so, many find themselves in and out frequently. Now, with the return of Shane Bond and Daryl Tuffey it adds to the list of Martin, Butler, O’Brien, Oram, Franklin, Diamanti, Gillespie, Southee and Thompson.

Kabir Ali, another seamer who plays for England and Worcestershire in the English County championship. Having played only a handful of games for England, Kabir finds himself outside of the first choices. England another side with unlimited resource for seamers. Kabir however, had his moments when he bowled the final over against South Africa and won England the game. Lack of consistency, inability and some tough competition has kept him away from the national side.

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