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Sunday, February 18, 2024

Yashasvi Jaiswal second double ton !!

How much of Cricket do you follow ! – those days a few hundreds of wise people would come to watch Palayampatti Shield matches, Hindu trophy and games of every kind !!  .. .. not many present day followers would know or remember CB Selvakumar, who played for RBI, was a popular Six hitter and who made a double century in the Hindu trophy format !!!   

Back in Oct 2019, a 17 year old made ripples hitting a List A double century finishing at 203 in 154 balls against Jharkhand in Vijay Hazare trophy, today the whole World is talking about him !!   

His achievement is all the more laudable given the face of adversity ! ~ media reports suggest that back in 2012, an innocent 11-year-old boy arrived in Mumbai with a dream of playing cricket for the country. He lived in a tent with no toilet facilities, sold panipuri to sustain himself and would go to sleep without eating for days on. He rose to play U19 and is a famous six hitter now  

Cricket records are meant to broken.  In olden days, a tour to Caribbean islands was the toughest one.  In 1971 India had glory.   In Feb 1971, India played their 1st test at Sabina Park.    After the first day was washed out India, thanks mainly to Dileep Sardesai's double-hundred, amassed 387, and then the Indian spinners skittled the West Indies for 217, a deficit of 170. They were asked to follow-on, but comfortably batted out time for a draw. Sardesai amassed  642 runs, with two single hundreds and a double, yet was outsmarted !  .. Abid Ali & Jayanti lal were the openers, while Abid Ali opened the bowling with Eknath Solkar.  Prasanna and Venkatraghaven – the two offies played together.  In the next match, a legend debuted opening alongside Ashok Mankad !!   

The Indian touring party was announced by the BCCI on 13 January 1971. The selectors named Ajit Wadekar the Captain, dropping Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi and Chandu Borde, the latter due to lack of form and fitness. S. Venkataraghavan was the vice-captain. Notable exclusions were  spinner BS Chandrasekhar, flamboyant  Farokh Engineer and Rusi Surti, the latter two owing to a ruling that they must have played during the season's Ranji Trophy competition. Keki Tarapore was the tour manager and Subhash Gupte, the liaison officer.  

That Series was all about little Master Sunil Manohar Gavaskar.  He missed the 1st Test due to an injured finger. In the 2nd, the 21-year-old announced himself with scores of 65 and 67 not out as India won by 7 wickets to lead the series 1-0 with 3 games to go.  In the next game, he made his 1st Test 100; finishing with 116 and 64 not out to help India draw the game.   In the next match, he fell for 1 in the 1st innings, his only score below 50 in the entire series. He  made up for it with 117 not out to make sure India saved the game and with one match left, India were still 1-0 up.  In the final test, he made 124 in the 1st innings and followed it up with 220 in the 2nd innings and West Indies barely managed to draw the game and India won the series 1-0, their 1st Test series victory over West Indies and that too in their own den. Gavaskar became the 2nd Indian to hit a 100 in each innings of a Test, something he would do on 2 more occasions.   

The legendary Indian batter Sunil Gavaskar achieved plenty of milestones during his 16 years long Test career.  We thought that it was the pinnacle of glory .. .. but players keep coming up, we have seen the likes of Virender SEhwag, Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli to name a few .. .. and is Yashasvi Jaiswal right up there is the Q !?!  

Today at Rajkot, phenomenal Yashasvi Jaiswal beat England bowlers to submission as the India opener notched up his second successive double century on Day 4 of the third Test in Rajkot on Sunday. Going hammer and tongs against the England bowlers, dazzling Jaiswal hammered his second double ton of the series – following  209 in Visakhapatnam in the second Test.  

Remember that he made his century yesterday -  when in   90s it  seemed to be a battle between his intent and execution. Mark Wood went with a bumper barrage and Jaiswal first tried to sell him a dummy by acting as if he was moving to leg but sliding back to position. Wood kept his poise and fired it at his throat and Jaiswal hopped to keep it down. Two more bouncers were kept out before he backed away for real outside leg and weakly cut to point.  On 103, his back began to seize up and he slowly sank at the non-striker’s end after calling for medical attention. As he lay on his tummy, the physio worked vigorously on the lower back and stretched his left leg. Next over, he walked off the field.  

Today he returned fresh with renewed vigour and played a splendid innings. With an easy single off a Joe Root delivery, Jaiswal got to his double ton and leapt in joy as the Indian dressing room and the fans in the stands applauded his stupendous knock.  Jaiswal is now also the sixth Indian after MAK Pataudi (203*), Dilip Sardesai (200*), Sunil Gavaskar (220 and 221), VVS Laxman (281) and Wasim Jaffer (212) to score a double hundred in second innings for India in the traditional format. Jaiswal finished on an unbeaten 214 as India declared their second innings at 430 for 4, setting England a target of 557 in the second session on the penultimate day.  

It was not only the double ton but the manner of crazy hitting – it looked like IPL.  Already 48 sixers have been hit in this Series -   28 sixes in this match breaking  the record for most sixes in a match, going past their 27 sixes in the Vizag Test in the same series in 2018-19.  

Three decades ago, a young man from Mumbai Vinod Kambli  took Test cricket by storm with two double-centuries in a row. Yashasvi Jaiswal, another young man from Mumbai, has now scored two double-centuries.  He is also the third-youngest man to two double-centuries in Tests, behind Vinod Kambli and Don Bradman.  Three Indians have scored two double tons in a Series – Vinod Kambli, Virat Kohli and Jaiswal.  

In this innings Jaiswal hit 12 sixers.    Immediately after reaching the double-century, he celebrated it back-to-back sixes off Joe Root. With that he leveled Wasim Akram's 12 sixes in his 257 against Zimbabwe back in 1996 

While you would read Statistics, personal milestones and acclaims today all over, here are some moot points to ponder too,

·        Without  belittling the innings,  this attack perhaps was weak – James Anderson bowled 13, Mark Wood 10, Hartley 23 and Rehan 25 !  - the max (27) were bowled by Joe Root. !!

·        Yesterday many went gaga over the run out blaming Jadeja stating Sarfraz missed out a certain 100 – gentlemen, still there were 38 to be made ! and run outs do happen in Cricket.  Every batsman would play for individual landmarks though one would keep saying that Team interest is above individual.  Today with Jaiswal within a scoring shot to his double, Sarfraz cut Rehan and ran one – Jaiswal turned back was not intent on second,  there was ugly animated gestures from the debutant at a Senior colleague for not running the second ! – was he intent to make his 50 before the declaration ?    Rohit Sharma waited till Jaiswal made 200 and delayed it by a couple of overs thereafter.

·        People call him cool nice guy – when he was at the helm with Greg Chappell as coach he too chopped some, picked some !  and in Multan Test when the result was not in jeopardy, he declared the innings with a Star batsman stranded at 194 ! – he could have declared when the batsman was around 175 or sent him a note to reach landmark in couple of overs.  He had the mind to deny double ton !!   

Yashasvi Jaiswal is playing his seventh match and 12th innings in a career that began last year with a debut knock of 171 in the West Indies.  His attitude and stroke play have been exceptional.  Best wishes to him to become a dependent consistent player and score 10000 runs in Test Cricket

With regards – S Sampathkumar

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