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Saturday, May 1, 2021

Harpreet Brar's day out ! .... bails not falling - clean Bowled

IPL 2021 has been a great entertainer – so many varied results – tall scores being chased,  teams folding smaller targets – choking closer to the end – some great innings, great catches, good bowling performances – a mixed bag indeed.  You would have observed that the games are now played  at neutral venues within India for the first time – no team plays on their home ground.  Six cities — Chennai, Mumbai, Delhi, Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Kolkata — hosting the tournament.    Chennai and Mumbai hosting the first leg from April 9 to April 25, followed by Delhi and Ahmedabad from April 26 to May 8. The third and final leg will be held in Bengaluru and Kolkata from May 9 to May 23 before the action moves to Ahmedabad for the play-offs, starting on May 25.

Riley Meredith became the fifth-most expensive uncapped player signed in IPL auction history on Thursday, when the Punjab Kings paid INR 8 crores. A 24-year-old fast bowler from Tasmania, Meredith has long been talked up as a future prospect for Australia - particularly by Shane Warne .. .. yesterday he bowled fast and did rattle some.  Devdutt Padikkal [7 off 6 balls] carved Meredith for an audacious six over extra-cover on the 2nd ball but Meredith sent his off-stump for a cartwheel.  Clean Bowled ! – stumps flying !!

Ravi Bishnoi is another revelation – took a sensational catch in the deep – in the early stages, Bishnoi let go a fast spinning googly towards Rajat Patidar, who completely miss read the ball as he went for a slog sweep. Replays showed that the ball snuck under Patidar’s bat and brushed past the leg stump while going into keeper Prabhsimran’s gloves. The keeper appealed and umpires had to refer it to the third umpire. The replays also found that the ball had actually hit the leg stump on its way to the keeper, but neither the lights came on, nor the bails were disturbed.

WG Grace, with his flowing beard and cricketing stature as huge as his enormous frame, has been the subject matter for many a anecdotes – on a windy day, he was bowled as bails were dislodged.  He coolly turned back, placed the bails back on stumps, remarking – there is a strong Westerly wind ! – the Umpire reportedly responded, yes, Doctor, I hope it helps you on your way back to the pavilion.  But by strange rules of the game, a batsman is not declared out even when the balls hits the stumps – but, if the bails are not dislodged. 

In 2019, the bad weather conditions at Old Trafford in Manchester forced the first day’s play of the fourth Ashes Test to cut short. The wind and rain interrupted the game on few occasions resulting in only 44 overs bowled on the opening day. In the 32nd over of the Australian inning, objects like beach-ball and chips packet gained access to the pitch due to strong winds. The powerful winds also knocked off the bails, causing frustration and delay.  So the Umpires decided that game would be played without bails on the stumps!

Here are the rules explained:

32.1 Out Bowled

32.1.1 The striker is out Bowled if his/her wicket is put down by a ball delivered by the bowler, not being a No ball, even if it first touches the striker’s bat or person.

29.1.1  The wicket is put down if a bail is completely removed from the top of the stumps, or a stump is struck out of the ground, by the ball, by the striker’s bat if held or by any part of the bat that he/she is holding, 

DRS has proved to a boon for some batsman and some bowlers – while Captains struggle on when to use their trump card.  In 2017, it was a howler – Bangladesh’s Soumya Sarkar  took  review after getting bowled during Bangladesh’s first Test against Sri Lanka in Galle. The astonishing event happened on the second ball of the fifth day with Sarkar batting on 53. He failed to judge the line of a delivery from right-arm medium pacer Asela Gunaratne as the ball clipped the top of his off stump.  

Regular Cricket views know it too well – in recent times, when the delivery or throw or the keeper’s glouse hits the stumps – and when the bails goes off, they flash aluminous red. They are not ordinary wooden bails but ‘zing bails’.    Traditionally stumps and bails are made from wood, but the new flashing wickets are made from a composite plastic, which are embedded with LED lights. The use of flashing wickets in international matches has been in vogue for more than 5 years now.   A bail is only completely dislodged when both spigots have separated from their stump grooves. A microprocessor in each Zing detects when BOTH spigots have become dislodged from the stump grooves. The Zing illuminates within 1/1000th of a second.

It would appear watching pacers like Meredith, Jamieson, Pat Cummins, Jasprit Bumrah, Prasidh Krishna, Kagiso Rabada,   and some more are bowling so fast, that the bails could fall on their own with the balls whizzhing past the stumps and perhaps there is no need to hit them even !!  ~ but factually they are not falling even when getting hit is the moot Q ..  In the World cup, Adil Rashid was aghast when Quinton de Kock, tried reverse sweep from outside leg  - zing bails did not come off, ball went for 4 ! Boult express to Karunaratne brushed the stumps, zing bails did not come off.   Mitchell Starc had the same agony, Chris Gayle being the batsman, Mohammad Saifuddin survived against Ben Stokes and David Warner dragged back a Bumrah delivery onto the stumps, but the bails refused  to budge. The balls hit the base of leg stump courtesy a deflection off the boot, but Warner could continue playing !

Yesterday it was a great match offering wholesome entertainment.  The score card : Punjab Kings 179 for 5 (Rahul 91*, Gayle 46, Jamieson 2-32) beat Royal Challengers Bangalore 145 for 8 (Kohli 35, Brar 3-19, Bishnoi 2-17) by 34 runs -  would never capture the innate nuances of the game just as Ravi Bishnoi beating Patidar – nicking to leg stump but bails not falling.  

The first delivery that Glenn Maxwell faced stunned him – the ball pitched near middle, danced, turned and ended up hitting top of off stump.  Both the bails had fallen making commentators think whether keeper Prabhsimran had any hand ? – Maxwell who was bamboozled stood his ground, was reluctant to walk out – Umpires referred checking the cleanliness and were convinced at first replay itself on ball hitting stumps.  10.2 that was a ripper from Harpreer Brar – who ?

A left-arm spinner and a hard-hitting lower-order batter, Brar hails from Moga, a small city in Punjab, which is also the hometown of Harmanpreet Kaur.  He  was picked by Kings XI Punjab in the 2019 IPL auction for his base price of INR 20 lakh at the age of 23.  Brar made is T20 debut in the 2019 IPL against the Delhi Capitals, when his captain R Ashwin described him as a "mystery spinner" at the toss. Brar impressed with an unbeaten 20 off 12, that included a six off a Kagiso Rabada bouncer,  but was struck for a six first ball by Shikhar Dhawan in a 17-run over, and he went on to play just one more game for a wicketless five overs that season.

After losing four of their first six IPL games this season, the Kings made three changes against the Royal Challengers, and gave Brar his fourth IPL game. Brar first batted with his captain KL Rahul to finish on an unbeaten 25 from 17 at No. 7 that included 18 runs off five balls against Harshal Patel, this IPL's highest wicket-taker, with the help of two sixes and a four, that took the Kings to a challenging 179 for 5.  More of his magic was to come.  After getting struck for a 6 by Virat Kohli – he bowled out Kohli and off the very next ball, had Glenn Maxwell too bowled.   In  his next and last over, he had de Villiers caught at extra cover for a fairytale ending that left the chase at 69 for 4 from where the Royal Challengers never recovered.

His first 11 overs in the IPL starting from 2019 went for a wicketless 106 runs, and his next seven balls didn't concede a single run while removing not one but three big fish.  It was nice to see Virat Kohli appreciating Brar and greeting him after the match.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar


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