There is nothing in cricket quite like two high-quality fast bowlers in tandem in full flow. There is no respite for the beleaguered batsmen as he is attacked at both ends by balls flying past him, into him, over him, leaving him menacingly and finally having him dismissed through the various ways he can be out. A team that has a couple of such bowlers is doubly blessed and fortunately for cricket fans over the years, many countries have been blessed to have this double menace.
Ignoring the West Indies squad of the 1975 – 2000 period which normally had four outstanding fast bowlers striking fear into the hearts of batsmen there have been several cases of teams having two truly great fast bowlers operating at the same time. The standards were set in the early years of Test cricket but then the matches played were very few and the damage they caused was limited. With the passing of time with many more opportunities, the pairings became famous and many of the names roll off the tongues of cricket followers automatically. In the last century for instance there has been Gregory and McDonald, Lindwall and Miller, Trueman and Statham, Lillee and Thomson, Willis and Botham, Donald and Pollock, Steyn and Morkel, Wasim and Waqar and towards the last stages of the West Indian dominance Walsh and Ambrose.
With the proliferation of Test cricket the numbers have gone up but the immortals with comparatively lesser number of wickets can never be forgotten for displaying the apotheosis of the art and craft of fast bowling. On figures however it is the Anderson – Broad duo which is way ahead and even with the growing number of Test matches the stats against their names is of the mind-boggling and eye rubbing variety. Between them, they have taken 1090 wickets but more important they have an aggregate of 895 wickets in the 117 Tests they have played together- the most by a fast bowling pair. The next highest aggregate by a pace-bowling pair is 762 in 95 Tests by Walsh and Ambrose. Wasim and Waqar follow with 559 wickets in 61 Tests together while Steyn and Morkel have a tally of 522 wickets in 62 matches.
Yes, Broad has played 140 Tests and Anderson 153 – considerably more than any other pair – but then it is not easy to maintain high-quality pace-bowling for so long a period. Anderson has played 17 years and Broad 13 in the midst of a packed international calendar and under the circumstances, there is little doubt that in skill and longevity the duo is right up there among the greats.
An awkward incident took place on the second day of the first Test between England and Pakistan. When all-rounder Shadab Khan was batting with opener Shan Masood, the former asked for a change of shoes and former Pakistan captain, Sarfaraz Ahmed entered the ground as the 12th man carrying those shoes.
This did not go down well with former Pakistan speedster Shoaib Akhtar who termed as a humiliation of not only Sarfaraz but of respect and seniority in the game of cricket. Unlocking a barrage of words, Shoaib called Sarfaraz a weak and docile character who compromised with his respect. The Rawalpindi express didn’t stop there and rained on team management for making such a senior player carry the shoes.
“Those visuals, they were disrespectful. You can’t do this to a player who has led the national side for four years and got you the Champions Trophy. While I also believe that Sarfaraz is a weak character and he compromised with the situation. To me carrying the shows is not wrong. But the intent behind making Sarfaraz do that is very wrong. Even if he did it on his own, then someone senior should have stopped,” Akhtar said while speaking on Boss news.
No disrespect, it’s very humble of Sarfaraz to do that - Misbah
Late in the day an explanation over the same issue was given by current head coach of the team, Misbah-ul-Haq. Misbah said that it was a rather very humble gesture from Sarfaraz that he did it.
“I think there was nothing wrong with it. He was helping the team as the rest of the players were either playing or practicing. I think Sarafaraz is a great human being. He knows that it’s a team game and everybody needs to help. Plus, it is a sign of a good team,” Misbah said.
One might have seen dogs going out with their owners and playing with Frisbee or dodge balls or sometimes with rubber cricket balls too. We associate such playful characteristics with a dog quite easily. But what if you were told that a cat can catch balls with paws? Are you shocked? Well, don’t be, as the cat in the video below catches balls better than many fielders and even the renowned cricket commentators agree to it.
It was the former Australia cricketer turned commentator Dean Jones who shared the video on his official Twitter handle. Uploading the video, Jones wrote, “Have seen worst fielders I can assure you.”
In the video, a girl hits balls with a golf stick and shoots the activity on her mobile phone. Her cute little cat catches every ball and that too with just her two claws. There is a small net placed behind the cat just so that the ball doesn’t go far.
The video went viral with as many as 1.5 lakh views gathered by it in a very short span of time. Additionally, it got 7,000 likes and more than 1200 retweets.
Look at the second catch: Harsha Bhogle in awe of the cat’s catching abilities
Dean Jones was not the only commentator who was super impressed by the cat. Even Indian commentator and cricket analyst Harsha Bhogle remained awestruck by the cat’s abilities to hold on to such cats.
Replying to Dean Jones’ tweet, Bhogle wrote, “That second catch!” with clapping hands emoji.
Fans too were amazed to see the cat take the catches so easily. They compared it with former South African cricketers and one of the revolutionaries in the field- Jonty Rhodes, while others called former Pakistan wicketkeeper, Rashid Latif who was known for his agility behind the wickets and small height.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) might have had to struggle a bit after it received a shock in the form of Indian Premier League (IPL)’s title sponsor VIVO mobiles pulling out from the deal. The Chinese company pulled out just ahead of the tournament because of the negative publicity it got on social media.
However, now things seem to be materializing in a better way for the board as there are a variety of companies ready to sponsor the league and leading the race is e-commerce giant Amazon. If reports in News 18 are to be believed then, BCCI is ready to negotiate a deal even with 1/3rd of the amount that VIVO was offering.
"If they are able to strike a deal worth Rs 180 crore, which would be just one-third of VIVO’s 440, even then also it would be a win-win situation for the board," a source close to the board was quoted as saying in the report.
Non-competitive brands can partner to pull in money for sponsorship
The source further hinted that BCCI is also looking at the idea of two non competing brands to take the lead and pool in the money for the sponsorship to serve their causes.
"You know the board is also looking for partners, so for example, BYJUs and Unacademy are rivals and so are Dream 11 and My Circle 11 in their own core areas. But if Dream 11 gets the title and BYJUs come in as official partners to pool in the money or if Unacademy gets the title and My Circle 11 pools in then that is also accepted by the board,” the source said.
India all-rounder Hardik Pandya and his partner Natasa Stankovic were recently blessed with a baby boy. The cricketer had shared the good news on social media platforms. While enjoying his duties, Hardik is posting adorable videos and pictures of his son. The newborn is hogging a lot of limelight these days.
Hardik’s brother Krunal Pandya recently uploaded a clip with his nephew. Taking to his official Instagram handle, Krunal posted a video. He captioned the video as, “Let’s talk cricket”.
Tell him to become a fast-bowling all-rounder - KL Rahul
While people showered blessings on the little one, India batsman KL Rahul predicted the career profession of the junior Hardik Pandya.
He suggested Krunal to make the baby boy a fast-bowling all-rounder in future.
“Please tell him to become a fast-bowling all-rounder,” Rahul commented on the post.
KL Rahul is currently gearing up for the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League, which is scheduled to take place from September 19 in the UAE. While Rahul will lead Kings XI Punjab franchise, Pandya brothers will be back in action for the defending champions Mumbai Indians.
Notably, all the matches of IPL 2020 will be played across three cities - Sharjah, Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
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