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Saturday, November 10, 2012

langur invasion at pitch ... and when JJ Khan decided to play: England Tour of India

England is on a tour to India, set to play Tests, T20s and One dayers.  It is customary that visitors play some local matches to get themselves acclamatised to the conditions – in the first match, they complained about no spinners in the opposition.

Yesterday, it was an otherwise non-descreipt  team representing Haryana and you sure would not have heard of the names, if you had not been following Indian local cricket regularly.  Wicketkeeper batsman N Saini got out early but R Dewan, unbeaten on 77 and Sunny Singh had a nice long partnership grinding the English bowlers.  At draw of stumps Haryana were 172 for 4 in 71 overs.  If England had ideas of sweeping out opponents, they would have largely been dispelled on the second day against Haryana.

Earlier, England lost their last five wickets for 14 runs in the morning session;  the Haryana offspinner, Jayant Yadav, delivered a less than glowing review of England's performance against spin bowling.  Yadav, an unremarkable bowler playing only his fifth first-class game, finished with 4 for 110, the best figures of his career to date. No need for reading too much into that.  
The most interesting aspect during the match was the play being held up by an invader, not the normal streaker – it was a simian – a langur monkey, which ran across the pitch and moments later mades its way off on its own attracted by another female monkey on the boundary edge at the other side. 

Photos courtesy

In the previous match played at DY Patil Sports Academy, Mumbai on 3rd Nov 2012, England played first and declared its first innings at 345 for 9.   Mumbai’s attack was KM Waingankar, SN Thakur, JJ Khan, S Dhawan, and some others who tweaked.  As is the case with most three-day first-class games, there was not much at stake in terms of the result.  For the visitors, Alastair Cook got a hundred, Bairstow also had one, Samit Patel staked claims as a batting allrounder at 6
Here is a bit of interesting or rather a different angle from that otherwise drab match.   Indian Express reported that when the Mumbai A players were planning their strategy at their team hotel on the eve of their match against the visiting Englishmen, their teammate Javed Khan was spending an anxious night in the waiting room of a hospital, about 15 km away, where his father was undergoing an open heart surgery. A couple of hours later, at around midnight, the 22-year-old all-rounder lost his father, Mohammad Jayish Khan.

Yet, Javed turned up at the D Y Patil Stadium to play the three-day first-class game against England – and in the course of his 17 overs, he picked up two wickets — that of the difficult-to-dislodge Jonathan Trott and centurion Jonny Bairstow. His stoic expression on claiming the big wickets would have seemed odd to those who were not aware of his personal loss. In a text message forwarded to one of his friends on Saturday morning, Javed said he was playing this match “for his father”. Khan was buried in Mumbra on Saturday afternoon, around the time that Javed got Trott’s wicket.

Deciding to play the game was a difficult decision for Javed, who was inconsolable through the early hours of the morning. “By 5 am, we advised him to play the match. He was crying the whole night and was in a state of shock. But this match against  England was a big opportunity for him. His father was keen to see him bowl against England. So he did what his father would have wanted him to do,” said his longtime school coach Raju Pathak. Most of his teammates in the dressing room did not know that Javed had lost his father. And those who knew didn’t want to talk about it because they thought it would affect Javed.

Views may differ on whether he should have played and can the love for the game and seeking opportunity could be more than what the situation demanded……. somehow I am not feeling very comfortable to support this youngster….….

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.
10th Nov. 2012.

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