Friday, April 16, 2010

The Artistry of Sunil Gavaskar in Those Halcyon Days

Feeling a bit low about how a game has been converted into a see-sawing political battle. Cricket has lost its sheen. What was a stylish square cut is a wild fling of the bat, what was a leg glance is today, well, hm, a glance towards the film-star owner of the team shyly waving a flag, or a lascivious glance at the legs of the prancing cheerleader. Poor things, those cheerleaders, I pity them, they don't know a thing about the game and also, I presume, don't know what they are cheering. And poor thing, the film star, she doesn't know why her team is losing all its matches. May be, its because they don't conduct Mahurats before going to bat. No?

I remember the 1970's when Clive Lloyd's speed merchants visited India. I was terrorized watching television (a new entry in Bombai then) at the tall and athletic Michael Holding running in to bowl at the diminutive Sunil Gavaskar. Now, Gavaskar is the only batsman I know (maybe this is a world record) who didn't wear a helmet against the speeding balls of the West Indians. In fact, to see him boldly facing the big and burly West Indians in a Panama cap made me wince. Such was his guts. And about his style, most of his shots would shoot like a bullet, kissing the ground, never a bounce, because he mostly hit fours and not sixes, as he believed in defending his wicket for his country. His artistry is not evident in anyone except Sachin in the current season.

Speaking of seasons, the current season has seen an upside down, lopsided, shake-up of the very concept of this ball game. Hitherto considered a gentleman's game, I don't know if it is any longer. The rest is known to all ye readers. I rest my case.

Says my friend Dhansukhbhai Jethalal Shah, "Maro bhai, what do you know about bijness? Sports has been a business for more than half a century and here you are talking of artistry, pachi soo?"

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