Wasim Akram is without doubt the greatest left arm bowler to have played cricket. Nothing can beat the fact that as a wide eyed seven year old watching the 1992 world cup, I watched Wasim rip through the England middle order in perhaps what is his greatest remembered bowling performance. Nothing gets better than that. To get a sense of his greatness, as a 50 year old coach of an IPL team having net practice, someone hollered: “Wasim Bhai; ek ball dal do; dil shanth ho jayega” (please bowl one ball; my heart will attain peace). I suppose I was extremely fortunate to watch cricket in an era when Wasim Akram and Shane Warne played.
To watch Zaheer Khan bowl in the mid 2000’s was beautiful. He never had the same pace, but used to seam the ball both ways and was wonderful with the old ball.
To watch Hashim Amla bat is a joy. The relaxed, unhurried pace of his batting. His lush, ample beard. His gentleness and grace. His ethical standards. One could go on. Talking of relaxed and unhurried, one also remembers Inzamam Ul Haq: how much time he had to play the fastest of bowlers.
Sharda Ugra has a lovely essay on cricket in Jammu and Kashmir titled: The bat wallahs.
Jammu and Kashmir defeating Mumbai in the Ranji Trophy last season was the (modern day) equivalent of Eklavya coming from nowhere and knocking the stuffing out of Arjuna. A wonderful David vs Goliath story. I hope they continue to do really well in the coming years.
Several beautiful pictures accompanied the article. My favorite is reproduced below. The joy on their faces is absolutely priceless.