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Thursday, April 1, 2021

Prasidh Krishna and Krunal Pandya make impressive ODI debuts !

The comparison may not be apt – only conceptually – had always longed to see an Indian bowler running in hard and bowling fast and that way was delighted to see today’s debutant pacer delivering – 146,143, 145  but before one could celebrate Johnny Bairstow and Jason Roy were plundering 4s and 6s at will.

The urge to see a good Indian fast bowler has been raging for long – on that day Dec 7 1983, Jamshedpur was delighted to see a young Chetan Sharma making his debut for he had earlier taken a few wickets against WI in a tour match including having Viv Richards clean bowled !!  ..   Indian tour of Pakistan in 1978 brought out a paradigm shift in Indian bowling – Kapil Dev burst on the scene -for the first time a batsman called out for a helmet for an Indian pacer (Sadiq Mohammad) .. and sadly that tour also saw the demise of the famous Indian spin trio – Bedi, Chandra, Prasanna.  Chandra played a couple of test after that – Venkat, played, was in fact recalled for the WI tour of 1983.

Kapil Dev was the crowning glory ~ there were talks that Yograj Singh and Thirumalai Ananthanpillai Sekhar being  faster ! ~ when Umesh Yadav took 10 wickets in a home test, thoughts meandered to the way, India handled new ball – in 1970s – when the spin quartet dominated, Eknath Solkar would bowl a couple of overs, even sunil Gavaskar bowled a couple – ball would be rolled from third man and fineleg and then Bishan Bedi would take over (the quartet could consistently wrap the opponents below 200 is another aspect !)  There were times when we read about camps before Overseas tours, when Barun Burman, Jyoti Prasad .. .. came close to selection and a young lad Kapil Dev was denied extra rotis, stating that there are no pace bowlers in India.   

1980s was the tale of pace battery of West Indies – they kept coming – fearsome Holder, Roberts,  Holding, Daniel, Crofts, Garner, Marshall, Bishop, Ambrose, Patterson, Walsh .. ..  all could hurtle at great pace and make the ball climb awkwardly not only from a short length but at times coil it up from close to good length, making the life miserable for batsmen. Aussies had their own Thompson, Lillie, Pascoe, Mcdermoot, Bret Lee, Kiwis had some like Bond, Pak keep producing some genuine quickies like Akhthar, Mohd Aamir, Wasim Akram, Waqar and more.

An year ago, there was some curiosity when Virat Kohli talked about this KKR pacer -  Prasidh Krishna had been  an IPL regular for Kolkata Knight Riders since 2018.  Virat Kohli  said "he could possibly be an X-factor" for India in the run-up to the T20 World Cup later this year.  Injuries and team dynamics in Karnataka  meant his first-class matches tally stood pretty low.  As a  teenager - he played for Karnataka against the touring Bangladesh A side in 2015 and made  an impact too, taking  5 for 49,  wickets including Anamul Haque, Soumya Sarkar, Liton Das and Nasir Hossain, all Bangladesh internationals.

Today he went for : 6-0-6-4-4-2 carted by Bairstow and Jason Roy all over the park !!   25 year old  Muralikrishna Prasidh Krishna was destined to come back better !    From 135/0 in 14.4 – England stuttered !!  An ODI of fluctuating fortunes eventually went the way of India by a comfortable margin, giving them a 1-0 lead in the three-match series. Indians are happy celebrating the  debuts of Krunal Pandya and Prasidh Krishna, alongside vital contributions from several senior hands, as England collapsed after a dominant start to their chase.

Shikhar Dhawan played a good innings and departed just 2 short of his well-deserved ton.  He was to say, a good shot went to the player’s hand and he had no regrets though !  - Jonny Bairstow who was making a killing,  fell narrowly short of a century.   India had a good start, Rohit left at 64 (15.1); Virat Kohli shared a century partnership and left at 169 – when Hardik Pandya was out in 40.3, the score was 205/5 -   debutant Krunal Pandya's 26-ball fifty and an unbroken sixth-wicket stand with KL Rahul that yielded 112 from 57  took the score to 317/5.  Pandya’s 50 off 26 was a milestone – fastest fifty (joint) by an ODI debutant. 

Bairstow,  epitomised England's ultra-aggressive approach. He and Jason Roy had seemingly broken the chase by the time their first wicket fell, as the openers hared off to post their 12th century opening stand in ODIs. But England collapsed in the face of a renewed India bowling effort, led by Krishna and Shardul Thakur, both of whom recovered from expensive initial spells to share seven wickets between them.  Prasidh Krishna dazzled with 4 wickets – 8.1-1-54-4.

India is enjoying ‘plenty of riches’ with so many people, particularly debutants performing well.  In 3rd ODI at Canberra on 2.12.2020, T Natarajan debuted and performed well.  In 2nd Test at Melbourne, Mohammad Siraj & Shubman Gill debuted and did well.  In 3rd test it was Navdeep Saini and in the 4th Test at Brisbane, T Natarajan & Washington Sundar debuted and did well.  

In the recent England Test Series – Axar Patel debuted in the 2nd test at Chepauk and was the star sensation of the Series.  In 2nd T20I on 14.3.2021, Ishan Kishan fired 56 off 32 in his debut becoming the Man of the match.  In the 4th T2oI it was Suryakumar Yadav (who had debuted in the previous match but played started with a first ball six here) and today clearly belonged to debutants Krunal Pandya and Prasidh Krishna, though Shikhar Dhawan was the man of the match.

To conclude that Jamshedpur ODI in 1984 was to haunt as Chetan Sharma and India did not have a great match. West Indies made 333 and won by 104 runs. Coming together at 27, Greenidge and Richards gave an enthralling exhibition of batsmanship, adding 221 for the second wicket at more than 7 an over.  Interestingly in the next ODI at Guwahati, Kapil Dev did not play and the Indian attack was the most inexperienced : Chetan Sharma, Roger Binny, Randhir Singh, Raju Kulkarni (debutant); Ravi Shastri and Mohinder Amarnath.

Interesting !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar



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