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Sunday, March 26, 2017

Dharamshala test interestingly poised ! - the china(wo)man bowler !!

Ever heard of Priti Dimri, who played 2 tests and 23 ODIs for India ? 

The second most powerful politician in China has touched down in New Zealand - championing free trade at a time when the United States is turning towards protectionism. Premier Li Keqiang, whose influence is such that he is sometimes called "Chairman of Everything" in China, is travelling with a 200-strong government and business delegation, and his wife, Professor Cheng Hong, who specialises in American literature. The Premier, also referred to as prime minister, travelled to New Zealand from Australia, where he and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull both warned against trade protectionism.  Back home, we are reading more about China because of the debutant at Dharamshala – Kuldeep Yadav.

At draw of stumps on day 2, the fight for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy hangs in the balance with the game's two top-ranked nations locked in an unforgiving stride-for-stride slog to the post after another intense day in Dharamsala.  In pursuit of Australia's 300, India reached stumps on the second day on 6/248 with Saha and Ravindra Jadeja surviving – Nathan Lyon single-handedly turned the Dharamsala decider on its head to send one of the most epic series in Test history down to the wire, is what the Aussie Press has written about the day’s play.  They feel that the  Australian spinner with a heart as ferocious as his surname ripped through the Indian middle-order with an inspiring four-wicket masterclass which all came in a hurry in a thrilling final session.

India had spent much of day two patiently grinding Australia into the dirt, but after the Lyon blitzkrieg the hosts went to stumps 6-248 and still trailing on the first innings by 52 runs.  A wagging tail, a long one at that, of India will give the hosts an enormous boost in this Test, but if Australia can snare early wickets they will surely hold the advantage given they won’t have to bat last on a pitch that’s showing signs of misbehaving !

This morning as Murali Vijay and Lokesh Rahul negotiated the seamers, they would have marveled at the relentless pace and pressure applied by comeback kid Cummins. Before you read further, here is something from Brad Hodge on Indian Capt Virat Kohli opting to sit out and even volunteering to carry drinks for the team ! ~ yet the chattering Aussie tried to needle by writing that Virat  risks shattering his reputation if he fronts up for next week’s IPL. Hodge says big questions will be asked about Kohli’s leadership as Indian skipper if he runs out for Royal Challengers Bangalore in next week’s IPL opener against David Warner’s Sunrisers Hyderabad after he pulled out of the biggest Test match of his captaincy career in Dharamsala.

Hodge didn’t dismiss the severity of pugnacious  Kohli’s injury, but he said he sincerely hoped the Indian skipper isn’t like the many cricketers he knows who have “limped” into the lucrative IPL, only to then miraculously recover in time to cop their pay cheque.  Hodge perhaps knows it too well about the Australians who skipped National interest to play for Kerry Packer, though he was not playing at that time.

Spats are not new; controversies neither, though they get highlighted in every media.  Last week, we were witness to a rather messy legal tangle involving music composer Ilaiyaraaja and singer S.P. Balasubrahmanyam, after the former served on the singer a legal notice when he was performing concerts in the U.S. After he received the notice, SPB took to his official page on social networking site Facebook to announce that he and two other singers, K.S. Chitra and S.P. Charan, had been served a legal notice by Ilaiyaraaja’s attorney, asking them not to perform his compositions. The notice stated that if they continued to perform his compositions, they would be breaking the copyright law and would have to pay huge financial penalties while also facing legal action. SPB is currently performing a series of concerts as part of the SPB50 world tour, which began in August 2016 in Toronto.  Who owns the song and who should be paid, when, how long and how could remain unanswered Qs.  Without trying to get at the issue, the social media started taking sides poking at the Isaignani and the Singer, making rather unwarranted comments on their personal traits.  To the Tamil music listener, especially after 1980s, there are hundreds of great songs rendered by SPB to the music of great Ilayaraja and it is a loss for all of us.

Getting back to Dharamshala, Kohli sat down and his place was not taken by Shreyas Iyer but Kuldeep Yadav, who given the Test cap by L Sivaramakrishnan and Ravi Shastri felt so happy in repeating what Tony Greig had told about the name as ‘Lord of destroyer’ in 1985 when Siva played down under.  There are legspinners and there are left-arm wristspinners. While both ply the same craft, albeit with a different arm, they are treated and viewed differently.  We have seen Bishan Bedi, Padmakar Shivalkar, Rajinder Hans, Rajinder Goel, Dilip Doshi, Maninder Singh, Ravi Shastri, Raguram Bhat, Nilesh KUlkarni, Sunil Joshi, Ravindra Jadeja and more -  Kuldeep Yadav, who also bowls left handed is different in that he is the first left-arm wristspinner to play for India in Tests, used his variations to great effect on the first day.  He had a good debut claiming 4 with those deliveries dismissing Handscomb and Maxwell were gems. 

This morning in the 11th over, Hazlewood running in had a spat with  Murali Vijay whose wide grin suggested he was smiling sheepishly without getting angry – but the next ball, he was gone – was that a lapse in concentration, well trapped ? – in edging.  Comeback man Pat Cummins was streaming in and ripping it fast, peppering the Indian opener with short balls, mostly directed at the body, tempting the batsman to hook or pull. Rahul, to his credit, did well to bend and sway out of the way, and whenever Cummins erred in length, or gave him width to cut, he capitalised on it. When one  bouncer was awkwardly fended towards cover, Cummins muttered something again, for which Rahul nodded. The next ball was expectedly short, but not on the body. Bowled wide outside off stump, Rahul swished at it and the ball ended up taking the toe-end of the bat before tamely lobbing to mid-off – another dismissal bought verbally ?

In someways, Kuldip is not the first Indian Chinaman bowler; Priti Dimri, who played for Indian women was the first china(wo)man bowler !!

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

26th Mar 2017.

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