Cricket fans of a certain vintage get teary-eyed when a young Indian fast bowler runs at 150 kmph. For those middle-aged romantics, some even for pensioners, it’s an explosion of deep emotion. This country of cunning spinners and stubborn batsmen has presented cricketing stories that were a bit hazy. The spice that a colorful speed demon brings with him has remained conspicuous by his absence for decades.
Kapil Dev was there but he was no wild child. He swung the ball fatally late, but didn’t turn it into a haze. No matter how loud his ears were, Kapil was not whispering about death. His skills did not trigger violence. That particular style was flourishing elsewhere – Australia, West Indies, Pakistan.
Folklore has it that when Len Pasco and Jeff Thomson shared the new ball for the Sydney club, the corner hospital had an emergency wing named after them. It was his way of showing satisfaction to the two crazy speedsters who gave Resident Orthopedics enough business. In Pakistan, Rawalpindi still has a handful of club cricketers in their 40s – largely Shoaib Akhtar’s age – with scars or limps. Kapil was not the same favorite as the bone settlers. His victims went to the pavilion, they were not even pulled to an ambulance parked in the stadium parking lot.
It was this past that gave India’s old loyalists a collective bout of goosebumps. A thunderstorm occurred during the Sunrisers Hyderabad vs Kolkata Knight Riders match. Umran Malik, the son of a fruit seller from Gujjar Nagar, a modest area in Jammu, sent a speed gun into a tizzy. After hovering at an altitude of 140 kilometers per hour, he would send the needle several times at a speed of 150 kilometers per hour. India had a story.
Devendra Pandey Young was quick on the ball to chart the tearaway journey. From instilling fear in the minds of J&K Ranji players, troubling Australian star David Warner at the SRH nets and getting Virat Kohli’s attention after the game, Malik was fast-tracked. Watching Kohli talk to Malik after an IPL match, the Imran-Aqib anecdote and over-aggressive advice came to mind in an instant.
With Jasprit Bumrah, another member of the club’s 150 kph, who is a regular in his side for all formats, Kohli is not short of firepower, but then who wouldn’t mind the extra ammunition. Considering the consistency of Mumbai Indian’s main man during the death overs this IPL, Kohli would be hoping that Bumrah maintains his form after moving to the lighter India Blues.
Sandeep Ji In his sharp story with the delightful title ‘When Mumbai Indians got cold, India sneezed’ points to the impact of the most successful franchise on the national side in this World T20.
It was also a week when football fans of a certain vintage had tears in their eyes, rather than tears. After a draw with 10-man Bangladesh, India’s Paper Tiger failed to beat Sri Lanka. Once a nation waiting to make a grand entrance on the world stage, he was no longer even a neighborhood bully.
Mihir Vasavada Feather India seems to be stuck in reverse gear in a game that goes back a decade.
So when a young fast bowler came with hope, a bunch of footballers spread despair. If a game has taken you over the past week, write it back.
National Sports Editor